September 20, 1982 12:00 PM

In his seven previous films, including An Unmarried Woman and Harry and Tonto, director Paul Mazursky has often been unorthodox, but until now he has never quite seemed incompetent. Here he has turned the plot of Shakespeare’s play into a sort of tragicomedy with modern characters and settings. The tedious result, which runs nearly two and a half hours, is naturally loaded with generous borrowings from the Bard, but most moviegoers won’t care a whole lot about that. What they will see is a mixed-up story of a New York architect, John Cassavetes, who leaves his actress wife, Gena Rowlands, to move with Susan Sarandon to a lush Aegean island. There Raul Julia, portraying a Puerto Rican-accented Caliban, makes a pass at Cassavetes’ teenage daughter, played by Molly Ringwald. Meanwhile, the architect discovers that he has supernatural powers, including the ability to conjure up a magnificent storm. Sarandon is as appealing as she was in Atlantic City, and Rowlands and Cassavetes are certainly first-rate actors. Mazursky and his wife, Betsy, turn up in a party sequence. And there are some funny moments, many of them at a swanky, ultrastatus party. But mostly the humor is stale, the situations are clichéd. Those seeking a cinematic spin-off of Shakespeare’s play might more profitably check out the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. (PG)

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