Anyone who loves movies knows Al Pacino; he is the power house performer in so many great dramas that even a poor drama can often be half decent because of just his presence. But even the great Pacino has starred in some turkeys and if you come across a Pacino movie you have never heard of there is a good chance it is one of those turkeys. "Author! Author!" is for me one of those turkeys with Pacino totally wrong in this sort of movie because it is a comedy and whilst Pacino can do drama he can't do comedy. Pacino is not the only problem with "Author! Author!" as the actual storyline is also rather dull which makes it hard to get into.
Playwright Ivan Travalian (Al Pacino - The Godfather: Part II) is focussed on his play which is in rehearsals for Broadway which is quite stressful, thankfully when he returns home each day he has a gaggle of children who never fail to brighten up a bad day. Then his wife Gloria (Tuesday Weld - Wild in the Country), a serial bride, decides she has had enough of this marriage ups and leaves leaving him with various children. But a ray of light comes into his life in the attractive shape of actress Alice Detroit (Dyan Cannon - Deathtrap) except she can't cope with his noisy brood and leaves him.
In simple terms "Author! Author!" is a comedy drama about a father whose life is turned upside down by his wife walking out on him, his girlfriend unable to cope with children and proving he is a good dad whilst keeping the play going. But for what is a comedy it is rarely funny and at times seems confused as to whether it is trying to be an amusing family movie or a drama about a man trying to be dad and keep things going. It is a big reason why it ends up dull because it is not consistently one thing or another and often tries to find some middle ground between both but by doing so never really gelling.
But the inconsistency in tone is not the only problem as surprisingly Al Pacino is as well. Now loyal fans of Pacino will love this no matter what but to put it simply Pacino can't do comedy, he doesn't sell the humour at all and so many obvious jokes such as a scene where he gets his hair permed falls flat. In fairness Pacino is not the only one who struggles with the comedy as whilst Dyan Cannon is attractive and bubbly she never manages to sell the funny lines either. The only ones who end up bringing any comedy to things is the supporting cast such as Alan King who fire off the banter with such sharpness that they show up the rest of the cast.
What this all boils down to is that "Author! Author!" is a lesser known Pacino movie for a reason, it is a turkey by his usual standards. Oh it is interesting to watch Pacino try and play a different character to what people expect but it doesn't work.