Margot Kidder is back, looking far too young and beautiful to be the mother of a 30-year-old son, and giving a beguiling performance as an easygoing parent in Stephen Kijak's skittish "Never Met Picasso." It's a wry comedy, decidedly on the callow side, yet has a strong personal quality. "Never" is minor, but in a promising, inviting way that suggests Kijak is a filmmaker with a shrewd, amusing sensibility.
The setting is Boston's attractive South End, where Kidder, cast as an actress named Genna Magnus, is rehearsing a dreadful avant-garde production while her artist-son Andrew (Alexis Arquette) is feeling at sea both in his personal and creative life. He's about to be shaken up on both fronts: first, with the death of his beloved Uncle Alfred (Alvin Epstein), a witty older gay man and crucial role model, and second, the arrival of a new man in his life, the sexy, confident Jerry (Don McKellar).
Kijak is adept at guiding his large cast, with Arquette and Kidder given the chance to come across as quite appealing for all their tendencies toward self-absorption. Kijak senses how crucial behavior is to comedy, but he needs to develop a sharper satirical edge.
He finds gentle humor in the posturing of various creative types but should have revealed a greater acknowledgment of just how pretentious most of them are. (This is one of those pictures in which you wonder how all these people manage to support themselves while doing so much hanging around, assuming attitudes and striking poses.) The other key character is Andrew's best pal Lucy (Georgia Ragsdale), also an artist, who finds herself attracted to Genna. So much time is devoted to scenesters doing their thing that Kijak's concern for the contributions of gays and lesbians lost to history because of their sexual orientation tends to get lost in the shuffle. "Never Met Picasso" suggests that between this smart-looking picture and his next, Kijak needs to develop a greater degree of detachment.
Never Met Picasso, 1997. Unrated. A Turbulent Arts release of a Mighty Reel production in association with DLR Entertainment. Writer-producer-director Stephen Kijak. Producer Patrick Cunningham. Executive producer Jennifer Ryan. Cinematographer David Tames. Editor Angelica Brisk. Costumes Kathleen Chisholm. Music Kristin Hersh. Production designers Humberto Cordero, Julie Lupien. Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes. Ralph Fiennes as Oscar Hopkins. Cate Blanchett as Lucinda Leplastier. Ciaran Hinds as Reverend Dennis Hasset. Tom Wilkinson as Hugh Stratton. Daniel Day-Lewis as Flynn. Emily Watson as Maggie. Brian Cox as Joe Hamill. Ken Stott as Ike Weir. Gerard McSorley as Harry. Nick Nolte as Lucky Mann. Julie Christie as Phyllis Mann. Lara Flynn Boyle as Marianne Byron. Jonny Lee Miller as Jeffrey Byron. Miki Manojlovic as Marko. Lazar Ristovski as Petar (Blacky) Popara. Mirjana Jokovic as Natalija. Slavko Stimac as Ivan. Georges du Fresne as Ludovic. Michele Laroque as Hanna. Jean-Philippe Ecoffey as Pierre. Helene Vincent as Elizabeth. Julien Rievere as Jerome. Joseph Ashton as Little Tree. James Cromwell as Granpa. Tantoo Cardinal as Granma. Graham Greene as Willow John. Kevin Costner as The Postman. Will Patton as Bethlehem. Larenz Tate as Ford Lincoln Mercury. Olivia Williams as Abby. James Russo as Idaho. Tom Petty as The Mayor. Leslie Nielsen as Mr. Magoo. Kelly Lynch as Luanne. Matt Kesslar as Waldo. Stephen Tobolowsky as Agent Chuck Stupak. Ernie Hudson as Agent Gus Anders. Sally Potter as Sally. Morgane Maugran as Red Model. Carolina Iotti as Pablo's partner. Geraldine Maillet as Yellow Model. Katerina Mechera as Blue Model. David Toole as Fashion Designer. Pablo Veron as Pablo. Phyllida Law as Elspeth. Emma Thompson as Frances. Gary Hollywood as Alex. Arlene Cockburn as Nita. Tom Everett Scott as Andy. Julie Delpy as Serafine. Vince Vieluf as Brad. Phil Buckman as Chris. Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong as Dalai Lama (adult). Gyurme Tethong as Dalai Lama (age 12). Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin as Dalai Lama (age 5). Tenzin Yeshi Paichang as Dalai Lama (age 2). Tencho Gyalpo as The Dalai Lama's Mother. Tsewang Migyur Khangsar as The Dalai Lama's Father. Dustin Hoffman as Stanley Motss. Robert De Niro as Conrad Brean. Anne Heche as Winifred Ames. Woody Harrelson as Sgt. William Schumann. Dennis Leary as Fad King. Pam Grier as Jackie Brown. Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie. Robert Forster as Max Cherry. Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston. Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolette. Robert De Niro as Louis Gara. Joseph Ashton as Little Tree. James Cromwell as Granpa. Tantoo Cardinal as Granma. Graham Greene as Willow John. Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall. Helen Hunt as Carol Connelly. Greg Kinnear as Simon Nye. Cuba Gooding Jr. as Frank Sachs. Skeet Ulrich as Vincent. Carol Kane as Dorine Douglas. Molly Ringwald as Kim Poole. Jeanne Tripplehorn as Norah Reed. Barbara Sukowa as Virginia Wingate. Michael Imperioli as Daniel Birch. David Speck as Joel. Lothaire Bluteau as Randolph. Anna Thomson as Amy. April Turner as Zou. Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson. Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater. Billy Zane as Cal Hockley. Kathy Bates as Molly Brown. Bill Paxton as Brock Lovett. Gloria Stuart as Rose Dawson Calvert. Frances Fisher as Ruth DeWitt Bukater. Nathan Lane as Ernie Smuntz. Lee Evans as Lars Smuntz. Vickie Lewis as April Smuntz. Maury Chaykin as Alexander Falko. Eric Christmas as The lawyer. Michael Jeter as Quincy Thorpe. Dominique Reymond as The Mother. Daniel Duval as The Father. Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver. Michelle Yeoh as Wai Lin. Teri Hatcher as Paris Carver. Ricky Jay as Henry Gupta. Robert Duvall as The Apostle E.F.. Farrah Fawcett as Jessie Dewey. Miranda Richardson as Toosie. Todd Allen as Horace. John Beasley as Brother Blackwell. Vincent D'Onofrio as Guy. Hope Davis as Camera. Kimber Riddle as Veronica. Diane Salinger as Gail. Richard Portnow as Al. Alex D. Linz as Alex. Olek Krupa as Beaupre. Rya Kihlstedt as Alice. Lenny Von Dohlen as Jernigan. David Thornton as Unger. Tim Allen as Brad Sexton. Kirstie Alley as Caroline Sexton. Jay O. Sanders as Samuel Yoder. Michael Lerner as Phil Kleinman. Robert Downey Jr. as Franz Mazur. Malcolm McDowell as Henry Dugay. Cathy Moriarty as Minerva Dugay. Sean Penn as The Leprechaun. Alyssa Milano as Hugo Dugay. William Hickey as Andre. David Norona as Angel. Keiven McNeil Graves as Lee. Anthony Crivello as Eddie. Billy Porter as Shiniqua. Darling Narita as The Actress. Peter Greene as Adam, the homeless man. Luis Guizar as Jesus. Art Cruz as Juan. Woody Allen as Harry Block. Kirstie Alley as Joan. Bob Balaban as Richard. Billy Crystal as Larry. Judy Davis as Lucy. Hazelle Goodman as Cookie. Amy Irving as Jane. Elisabeth Shue as Fay. Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott. Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers. David Arquette as Dewey Riley. Jada Pinkett as Maureen. Morgan Freeman as Joadson. Nigel Hawthorne as Martin Van Buren. Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams. Djimon Hounsou as Cinque. Matthew McConaughey as Baldwin. David Caruso as Ned Tash. Kelly Lynch as Jude. Stacey Dash as Beck. Chris Noth as T. John Spencer as Uncle Mike. Peter Alexander as John Lee. Jeri Arredondo as Nancy. Henry Gibson as Robinson. Michael Stipe as Skeeter. Sidney Horton as RC. Katherine Goforth as Kat. Carl McIntyre as Lester. Ed Grady as George. Gina Stewart as Zoe. Carol Kane as Dorine Douglas. Molly Ringwald as Kim Poole. Jeanne Tripplehorn as Norah Reed. Barbara Sukowa as Virginia Wingate. Michael Imperioli as Daniel Birch. Robin Williams as Sean McGuire. Matt Damon as Will Hunting. Ben Affleck as Chuckie. Stellan Skarsgard as Lambeau. Minnie Driver as Skylar. Alexis Arquette as Andrew Magnus. Margot Kidder as Genna Magnus. Georgia Ragsdale as Lucy. Don McKellar as Jerry.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun