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GEORGE SEGAL SLUMS IN 'BORN TO WIN' WITH ROBERT DENIRO

George Segal and Marcia Jean Kurtz YEAR: 1971
With a title full of irony about a current junkie/former hairdresser doing all he can to score smack on the streets of New York City, there's far too much downtime...

And it happens right when things are at a nice rudimentary pace, beginning with a groovy soundtrack during an attempted small-time heist by George Segal and his cool black sidekick...

Who soon separate... and while it's clever that Segal's "J" meets his lady while attempting to steal her car, a contrived bedroom scene with Karen Black happens far too soon. Ironically, given her super-cool track record at that point, she doesn't seem like the renaissance era starlet from the likes of FIVE EASY PIECES or the gem that started it all, EASY RIDER. Her part here is a mainstream role in a would-be full-blown avant garde exploitation flick....

George Segal and Jay Fletcher in BORN TO WIN Score: **1/2
One that has its moments. Like whenever our man, who seems more a disheveled accountant than street savvy heroin addict, finds creative ways for money, sometimes robbing crooked Peter to pay off more crooked Paul while the heat is on, including a young Robert DeNiro as the Narc-looking smack-talker of two tailing cops...

When the characters are running wild as the guitar-funky music follows suit, BORN TO WIN delivers...

But like the casting of the otherwise nice guy actor Segal, it never completely... to paraphrase Bob Dylan out of context... sticks its head far enough into Desolation Row. After all, that's where (so to speak) the movie's downtrodden soul is supposed to be. And with the exception of a genuinely devious and formidable pimp/dealer in Hector Elizondo, this street-scene drama has way too much heart... in all the wrong places.
Robert DeNiro in a small role as Donny the narc-cop in Born to Win
Karen Black in BORN TO WIN
Junky moll Karen Black with George Segal in BORN TO WIN
Robert DeNiro in BORN TO WIN
Hector Elizondo in BORN TO WIN
George Segal and Marcia Jean Kurtz in BORN TO WIN
Paula Prentiss in BORN TO WIN
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