A huge box office bomb upon release, ALL NIGHT LONG has been criticized by many for it's uncomfortable mix of odd-ball comedy and quaint slice-of-life drama. Though it received some positive reviews (most notably from Pauline Kael and "Rolling Stone" magazine), most mainstream critics hated it and audiences all but completely ignored it. It is also often cited by most of Streisand's die-hard fans as their least favorite film of the actress. While the film is certainly not without it's flaws, I have interestingly always thought ALL NIGHT LONG contained somewhat of a bizarre charm, and I've always wished it would receive a re-evaluation from the film-going public.
As mentioned before, the film has it's problems. It's paced too leisurely (it's only 90-minutes in length, but feels more like two-and-a-half hours), Jean-Claude Tramont's direction is too light (the film needs more of a thematic punch in several scenes), and much of it's humor is surprisingly too subtle (odd seeing that most film comedies have the opposite problem). Having said all of that, the film is still worth checking out. Though Tramont's direction may be a tad too limp, his skewed perception of the American dream gives the film a dreamy, almost art house-like feel that makes the film more inherently interesting than the screen play would merit alone.
Also, the varied cast is a lot of fun, almost all of them playing against type. Gene Hackman brings a equal mix of unusual serenity and touching pathos to his role of the would-be inventor who manages to find his true self by losing nearly everything that was once-important in his life. In an early role, Dennis Quaid throws himself completely into part of Hackman's airheaded son, making the intelligent personae he would develop in later films like DREAMSCAPE and THE BIG EASY even more impressive. Barbra Streisand is clearly miscast the role of the bimbo housewife who woos both Hackman and Quaid (Streisand replaced Lisa Eichhorn, who was fired from the film after two weeks of production), but her performance is still worth catching. Though she's never totally believeable as Cheryl (a role that was poorly-defined in the screenplay to begin with), she is still a very likable, always watchable, and occasionally endearing presence in a unusual little film that deserves a second chance.
About the DVD: The picture quality, though dated-looking, is surprisingly crisp and clean. The sound is fine, but there are no extras.