***½/**** Image B+ Sound B-
starring George Segal, Eva Marie Saint, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn
screenplay by Don Devlin, based on a novel by J.M. Ryan
directed by Irvin Kershner
by Bill Chambers The top ten winners in TOTAL FILM's recent poll on the cinema's greatest "bastards" (that would be in front of the camera, not behind it) were a fairly stock bunch: old faithfuls like The Sweet Smell of Success' JJ Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) and Get Carter's Carter (Michael Caine)--who placed first--joined such choices that pander to currency while feigning esoterica as Internal Affairs' Dennis Peck (Richard Gere) and As Good As It Gets' Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson). But you will find few bigger bastards than the overlooked protagonist of Irvin Kershner's Loving, Brooks Wilson (George Segal), a lousy husband and father who has to be among the most self-absorbed suburbanites ever to despoil the screen. In our introduction to him, he decides to have a smoke instead of watching his daughter perform in the school Christmas pageant--an event for which he was made late by a fight with his mistress. One of them, anyway.