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ROBIN WILLIAMS PLAYS RUSSIAN IN 'MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON'

Clevon Derricks, Robin Williams and Maria Concheta Alonso 1984
Plot centers on a Russian saxophonist, part of that dying country's circus troupe, who defects on a trip to New York in, of all places, Bloomingdale's: a scene that's a short film all it's own. Before that, the first thirty minutes center in the mid-eighties' Soviet Union where we experience the dreary hopelessness of living under communist rule...

Then the last hour's all in America... New York City, to be exact, where poverty reigns as well. But unlike Russia, there's a glimmer of hope... especially with gorgeous Maria Concheta Alonso, whom the bearded everyman lands too quickly to be realistic. Black sidekick Clevon Derricks fills in the needed comedy that Williams would usually infuse had he not a semi-serious plot to carry. Alejandro Rey is also good as his Cuban lawyer, whose thirty-second backstory is perhaps the funniest thing going... 

Robin Williams and Elya Baskin see America RATING: ***1/2
But it's Elya Baskin as Williams's Russian buddy... a circus clown hybrid of Roberto Benigni, Yakov Smirnoff and Mick Jagger... who, after implanting the desire to defect in the first place, all but makes the picture. His initial catapulting muse is omnipresent. And Williams is cool and natural as a Russian with an accent that never falters....

More proof the beloved funnyman can be a terrific actor when he's got the right script... Even despite the fact MOSCOW meanders during the last act, with more of a whimper than bang, Williams never loses focus. Overall, this is more a movie he's in than a Robin Williams movie. Strange it was never mentioned after the shocking suicide.. only DEAD POETS SOCIETY and GOOD WILL HUNTING were brought up to prove his legitimate acting chops. Meanwhile, both this and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP have 'em both beat by miles.
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