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James Franco slams Ben Brantley over 'Of Mice and Men' review

James Franco, left, and Chris O'Dowd in John

James Franco, left, and Chris O'Dowd in John Steinbeck's classic "Of Mice and Men." Credit: Richard Phibbs

James Franco took aim at New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley Thursday over a disparaging review of the new Broadway revival of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."

"Sadly Ben Brantley and the NYT have embarassed [sic] themselves," wrote the actor, who plays George opposite Chris O'Dowd's Lennie, in an Instagram post that has since been deleted. Franco then used an expletive describing the critic and added "he should be working for instead of the paper of record. The theater community hates him . . . "

Franco, who turns 36 Saturday, also posted a link to a positive review in Variety. The limited-run play, at the Longacre Theatre through July 27, was well-received by most critics, including Newsday's Linda Winer. Brantley, however, found it "generally inert," and said that Franco "sports a Yosemite Sam accent" while also being "often understated to the point of near invisibility."

Brantley told Newsday, "I like James Franco on film, and I didn't hate him in this. Anyway, he's welcome to respond as he chooses, obviously.”

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