Cadillac Man

A promiscuous luxury-car salesman (Robin Williams) in New York finds himself in the middle of a crisis when the hysterical, demented husband (Tim Robbins) of the lot’s secretary holds the entire dealership hostage, and the salesman has to use his special skills in order to save everyone’s life. Theoretically, the setup has some possibilities, but virtually none of them are realized in Ken Friedman’s hackneyed script (which even pilfers one of the corniest ideas in Rebel Without a Cause for its climax) and Roger Donaldson’s extremely poor direction. There’s nothing worse in movies than inauthentic regional flavor, and somebody’s decision to turn all the characters into screaming, strident caricatures makes this a pain to sit through; it’s a comedy-thriller only in aspiration. The material cries out for the Sidney Lumet of Dog Day Afternoon, and what it gets instead is so crude and swaggering that all the actors, including Williams and Robbins, are bent grotesquely out of shape. With Pamela Reed, Fran Drescher, Zack Norman, Annabella Sciorra, Lori Petty, and a brief cameo by Elaine Stritch. (JR)

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