Moscow on the Hudson: Mazursky’s Comedy, Starring Robin Williams as Russian Immigrant in Top Form

In Paul Mazursky’s light comedy of culture collision, Moscow on the Hudson, the young Robin Williams, on the verge of becoming a star, plays Vladimir Ivanoff, a Russian saxophon player working in a circus.

His life of quiet desperation with his colorful family does not compensate for his feelings of repression and frustration. Opprtunity knocks, when the circus comes to New York City, and Valdimir goes on a shopping trip to Bloomingdale’s, where he announces his intention to defect.

His adoptive country is kind and generous. Befriended by security guard Lionel Witherspoon (Cleavant Derricks), Vladimir makes the slow transition from Russian to American citizen.

His journey of assimilation is helped by the charming fellow immigrant, Lucia Lombardo (Maria Conchita Alonso), and immigration attorney and Cuban refugee Orlando Ramirez (Alejandro Rey).

The film is too conventional and obvious to qualify as a poignant comedy, especially by the high standards of Paul Mazursky, who previously mad the poignant serio-comedy, “An Unmarraied Woman,”” with Jill Clayburgh.

But the film exudes humanity and charm and there are enough touching moments and endearing performances to justify its viewing.

Running time: 118 Minutes