works well enough as a hit-and-run satire of polite middle-class veneer, yuppie smugness, and general pretensions to maturity; the script, adapted by Polanski with Reza, delivers laugh line after laugh line, all character-based. As an overall film, however, it fails. Polanski displays his usual tight camera control, but that isn’t so hard since the action never leaves the apartment. That canned feeling can work fine onstage, but there’s no plausible reason that the Cowans should spend as much time as they do at the Longstreets’ other than the fact that Polanski seems to have no idea what to do but keep them there. The actors are left little option but to get bigger and bigger in their performances, which does their efforts no favors. They aren’t caricatures, exactly, but they never really get to be people either. Foster’s Penelope, for one, is allowed a moment where you can begin to feel for her, but it’s quickly swept aside by more proverbial sound and fury.