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Chicago Reader (#110 of 3)

Jim Sikora’s The Critics

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Jim Sikora’s <em>The Critics</em>
Jim Sikora’s <em>The Critics</em>

Adapted from a scathingly self-reflective stage play by novelist and former Chicago Reader staff writer Adam Langer, The Critics is an icily witty exercise in Windy City rancor. Structured petulantly around the proving of the titular characters’ static buffoonery, the multi-layered plot doesn’t so much burn Langer’s vocational bridges as intimately dismantle them. With the begrudging coverage the film has received from Langer’s prior employers especially, one expects the script to feel like an elaborate indulgence—an intricate, if ultimately masturbatory, pressure valve for a fed-up aesthete. But the extent to which Langer was exasperated with theater in the late 90’s (a period during which, not coincidentally, Broadway arguably underwent a corporate candy coating) facilitated a far more deliberate and introspective attack than that glossing would suggest.