'Barney's Version' is flawed, yet still intriguing
Las Vegas Weekly
16 February 2011
Excerpt: Two kinds of novels are especially difficult to adapt for the movies: sprawling, shapeless character studies that span decades in the protagonist’s life; and postmodern experiments in form. Barney’s Version , the final book written by Canadian author Mordecai Richler ( The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz ), falls into both categories, so the fact that the film—call it director Richard J. Lewis’ version—isn’t a total disaster comes as something of a pleasant surprise.
Conclusion: While perhaps a touch overlong and with plot strands that don't hang together as well as they might, this is remains a triumph, illuminated by a terrific leading man turn from Paul Giamatti.
Excerpt: "Barney's Version" is a character study covering 30 years of one man's life. Depth is compromised by span when a life - even a fictional one - is featured in a movie-length couple of hours. This is a rambling, uneven and shallow movie held together by strong acting. The comedic story takes an unexpected and solemn turn towards the end, but by then there's not a lot of emotion vested in the outcome for the amiable but self-centred characters.