A carefully programmed knockabout farce, The Ritz has been adapted with only slight modification from Terrence McNally's Broadway hit. The insanity centers around a small-time Italian businessman named Gaetano Proclo (Jack Weston). On the run from a mobster brother-in-law, Gaetano lies low in what he considers a suitably obscure hideout. The place even has a reassuringly classy name — The Ritz. Gaetano is from Cleveland, so he can be forgiven his naiveté about the Manhattan demimonde. He suspects all is not well, however, when The Ritz turns out to be an elaborate bathhouse patronized exclusively by males. His darkest fears are confirmed when some of the patrons start winking at him, and one, Claude Perkins, launches repeated attacks from behind doorways and across corridors. Claude (Paul B. Price) is a "chubby chaser," and the ring of flesh hanging over Gaetano's belt is so thick he seems to be wearing an inner tube under his shirt. Claude is transported.
Visions of Glory. Like any formal bedroom comedy, The Ritz skims along on a plot that defies both good sense and synopsis. At no point is Gaetano's life or manhood entirely safe, and in battling to preserve both, he stumbles across deranged characters like Googie Gomez (Rita Moreno), a busted-down Puerto Rican entertainer with visions of Broadway glory. So far, success has kept well ahead of her. Googie's problem, mainly, is her accent, which is thick enough to weigh on a scale. In her lust for fame and fortune, Googie mistakes Gaetano for a big producer cruising the Ritz to have a little fun. She decides to reform him and become discovered in the process. He, on the other hand, seriously entertains the notion that she is a man.
One can never be sure of anyone at the Ritz — not Carmine Vespucci (Jerry Stiller), the homicidal brother-in-law, not even Vivian Proclo (Kaye Ballard), Gaetano's hysterical wife—but there is one thing certain: despite stiff competition from a very funny Jack Weston, Rita Moreno runs off with the movie, stashed under Googie's unconvincing wig. It is a combustible comic performance.
Like Moreno, almost everyone in the cast is a veteran of the original Broadway production. --- J.C. Time Magazine