Stag

The unpleasantness of the film is its raison d’Ítre, and nevertheless this has weighed heavily against it in the critical estimation by and large. The idea is to look at the deconstructed man of Postmodern times and see what he is made of, and this is done in a dramatic situation not unlike, somehow, Pinter’s The Homecoming, played structurally as a Bride-and-the-Bachelors winnowing of the field, on the analogy of the nursery rhyme,

Four and twenty tailors went to kill a snail,
The best man among them durst not touch her tail.
She put out her horns like a little Kyloe cow,
Run, tailors, run, or she’ll cut you all e’en now.

—and mind you, the heroine of the piece is bound and gagged for much of it.

Against this motley of masculine types young and old, good, bad or indifferent, is Jerry Stiller as a friendly but concerned neighbor, the mensch next door. The study of these men acting badly and rationalizing worse is capital, necessary and vital, though it makes for a skincrawling couple of hours.