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Friday, 29 July 2005

The First Reading: Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia, 29 July 2005.
Never mind that Carrie Rickey, the chief film critic ofThe Philadelphia Inquirer, usually gets it wrong. Never mind that Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square (described by Inga Safron, The Inquirer's cityscape columnist, who usually gets it right, as one of the best 10 public spaces in America) has fallen on hard-times. Today, the Square is a tatty vestige of its old self, over-populated by winos; bag ladies; rich, ageing George Hamilton look-alikes, yearning to be 'down the Shore;' upwardly-mobile young mothers wishing actually to be strolling their prodigies in Central Park; and an assorted collection of casts-off from the Rouge, a pathetic, sad-looking nearby café that wouldn't make the JV team in LA. Anyway, like I said, never mind.

So, our lesson for today, brethren, is not a critique of Ms Rickey's review of Robert Downey Sr's Rittenhouse Square, which (the review, that is) appears in today's Inquirer. Ms Rickey calls the film a 'blissful rhapsody.' That's OK by me. Never mind if she wants to suck up. What does trouble me, however, is how this description, 'blissful rhapsody,' works it way into an ad for the film, also appearing today. (Never mind that the ad takes the liberty to add a gratutious exclamation point to Ms Rickey's blissfully rhapsodic prose). What I'm wondering is how were the film's flacks, in preping the ad, able to blurb the reviewer even before the review appeared.

Seems like collusion to me. Payola? Not likely. More like footsie. Like I said, Ms Rickey usually get its wrong. Never mind.
-- Richard Carreño

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