The Godfather star was nominated for an Oscar for his part in the 1992 movie adaptation of Mamet’s 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning stage show, and he has reprised the role in a new revival in New York’s famed theatre district.
Pacino, who won a Tony Award nomination for his role in a 2010 Broadway production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, plays one of four real estate salesmen in the production, but his turn has pulled in mixed reviews.
Joe Dziemianowicz, of the New York Daily News, writes, “Pacino is a terrific actor and gave a riveting performance two years ago in The Merchant of Venice. But as Shelly Levene, a dinosaur who can’t close a deal, Pacino seems small and insignificant… He resorts to trademark tricks – bugging his eyes, talking in falsetto, sticking out his gut… As a result, the play simmers when it wants to boil.”
Elisabeth Vincentelli, of the New York Post, concludes, “It’s all about Pacino, and guess what? He’s good. Not awesomely, lifechangingly good. Just good… Pacino looks unsure of himself, his eyes flickering about in a way that seems unconnected to (the character’s) own distress. Uhoh…”
However, Los Angeles Times theatre critic Charles McNulty is convinced Pacino will still prove himself to be a Broadway box office draw: “It hardly matters that the revival is only second-rate. Al Pacino, the production’s star, has turned this Mamet classic into a box-office juggernaut. If the character he’s portraying (is just) Pacino making a grand doddering display of playing the washed-up real estate hustler, who but the critics are going to complain?… A concentrated dose of star acting is needed to keep buyer’s remorse at bay, and in this respect Pacino is giving audiences their money’s worth.”
David Rooney, of The Hollywood Reporter, adds, “Al Pacino is the headliner and principal draw, even if he’s the most questionable element in this sluggish revival of David Mamet’s best-known play.”