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The Kid Stays in the Picture (July 18/02)

Based on the autobiography of the same name by Robert Evans, The Kid Stays in the Picture presents all the vital information found in the novel in a bland, unappealing format that feels like the film equivalent of a book-on-tape.

The Kid Stays in the Picture takes the viewer through Evans' life, from his poolside discovery by Norma Shearer to his amazing rise and fall as the head of production for Paramount Pictures, using his voice for narration and occasionally cutting to old interview footage. There's no denying that a lot of the recalled stories are fascinating, particularly how Evans' dealt with Frank Sinatra's request to have Mia Farrow released early from Rosemary's Baby, but the problem is there's nothing here that wasn't in the book. It doesn't help that the filmmakers, Brett Morgan and Nanette Burstein, present the material using mostly old pictures and the occasional clip. They attempt to liven things up by zooming into the photos and playing a wide range of music, but it just doesn't work.

Still, the movie is worth checking out if you're not familiar with Evans; it can't be argued that he hasn't lived an exciting life. There are a few goodies included in the film that were touched upon in the book, but couldn't be visualized for obvious reasons. A passionate speech given by Evans to the Paramount board of directors, in an effort to save his job, is presented here and is just as bizarre and intriguing as it sounded in the novel. Likewise, the film concludes with a hilarious Robert Evans impression by Dustin Hoffman that's easily the highlight of the movie.

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