Daily Archives: March 26, 1996

A Thin Line Between Love And Hate

Sandwiched between shots inspired by the opening of Sunset Boulevard is a grotesque, unfunny comic version of Fatal Attraction. Martin Lawrence, playing a nightclub promoter who gets into trouble with a scorned girlfriend (Lynn Whitfield), is also credited as director and cowriter, though this looks like a movie written and directed by a committee whose members aren’t even on speaking terms. With Bobby Brown (Panther), Della Reese, Regina King, and Roger E. Mosley. (JR)… Read more »

Sgt. Bilko

Steve Martin takes over the Phil Silvers part from the old TV show You’ll Never Get Rich (also known as The Phil Silvers Show): a philandering con artist on a peacetime army base who’s happily bilking the army of our billions of tax dollars with our affectionate approval and consent. Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) directs the proceedings with the right amount of bounce, working from a routine but serviceable Andy Breckman script. Overall, this offers a reasonably updated facsimile of a 50s service romp called Operation Mad Ball, a similar celebration of high jinks. With Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, Glenne Headly, Daryl Mitchell, Austin Pendleton, and Chris Rock. (JR)… Read more »

Man Of The Year

Though this has its share of silly moments and overdone lampoonery, Dick Shafer’s pseudodocumentary about his stint as Playgirl magazine’s 1992 man of the yearan extended promotional gig complicated by the fact that he’s gayis pretty funny much of the time. The movie combines a certain amount of real-life footage with satiric re-creation and dares you to sort out which is which. Chances are you won’t have too hard a time, but that’ll probably make the movie more fun to watch, not less. With Shafer (as himself), the model Fabio (ditto), Bill Brochtrup, Beth Broderick, Lu Leonard, and Cal Bartlett. 86 min. (JR)… Read more »

Flirting With Disaster

From the Chicago Reader (March 26, 1996). — J.R.

David O. Russell, the writer-director of Spanking the Monkey, offers another naughty comedy — this one less independent and much more farcical (1996), with more familiar names in the cast. A young east-coaster (Ben Stiller) with a wife (Patricia Arquette) and baby son is contacted by a psychologist (Tea Leoni) who wants to reunite him with his biological parents — whom he hasn’t seen since infancy — and videotape the results for her research. After attempting to placate his adoptive parents (George Segal and Mary Tyler Moore), he and his family and the psychologist all take off cross-country. The results are watchable enough — sometimes funny, sometimes over the top — and fairly fresh, though also a bit calculated. Leoni has an interesting comic presence one would like to see in toothier material, though this certainly has a few bites. With Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, and Richard Jenkins. R, 92 min. (JR)

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