(This post originally appeared in slightly different form on October 18, 2007.)
But O’Hara’s work isn’t really strong on plot to start with. He concentrates on characterization and dialogue instead. PAL JOEY manages to be both funny and very dark at the same time. Joey is uneducated, as is evident from the misspellings, grammatical errors, and tortured sentence structures in the letters he writes, but he has more than enough lust, greed, and ambition to make up for it. His jealousy of his friend’s success comes through plainly, as does his unwillingness to take any of the blame for his failures, even though most of them result from losing his temper or trying to take advantage of someone. He’s about the most venal character you’re ever going to come across, which is probably just what O’Hara intended.
PAL JOEY is also short and moves right along, always a plus in my book. I enjoyed it, and it’s got me really curious about the film version. I’m going to have to hunt up a copy of the DVD and give it a try.
UPDATE: So, have I watched the movie version of PAL JOEY, in the almost six-and-a-half years since this post first appeared? Well, no, not yet. But I'll get around to it one of these days!