In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_hercules

Hercules

Dwayne Johnson tries, but he’s surrounded by poor CGI and a terrible adaptation of yet another comic book. Ian McShane steals what little movie there…

Thumb_f8f20egntzlhnjjletts89sx5lt

Magic in the Moonlight

While Allen’s new picture, "Magic In The Moonlight," isn’t even close to being a disaster (for that, see, well, "Scoop"), I don’t think it’s unreasonable…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Life Itself Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Blind Date

  |  

She's a blind date, all right. One glass of Champagne and she's chewing on his lips. Two glasses and she's shouting across crowded restaurants and ripping the pockets off of men's suits. It doesn't take much to get her blind. One drink will do it, and it is the misfortune of the hero of "Blind Date" that he gives her that one drink.

The hero is Walter Davis, played by "Moonlighting's" Bruce Willis as such a nerd that the small end of his tie hangs down below the big end. He works all night on a big presentation, and then needs a date to take to the company dinner in honor of a visiting Japanese businessman.

His brother fixes him up with Nadia Gates (Kim Basinger). "She goes crazy if she drinks," he says, but the nerd takes this as a recommendation instead of a warning.

And on that fatal glass of Champagne, Blake Edwards spins his whole comedy of errors in which Nadia gets Walter fired, beaten up, chased, shot at and arrested, while the two of them meanwhile fall in love. This is familiar territory for Edwards: He has made a comedy about alcoholism ("10"), and his "The Party" (1968) was about the same kinds of social embarrassment that his heroes inflict this time. Can he come up with a new angle? Well, sort of. There are individual moments in this movie that are as funny as anything Edwards has ever done, but they're mostly sight gags and don't grow out of the characters. The characters, alas, are the problem. Willis plays a nerd so successfully that he fades into the shrubbery and never really makes us care about his fate. Basinger, so ravishing in most of her movies, looks dowdy this time. Her hair is always in her eyes, and her eyes are her best feature.

She apparently has the stuff to be a comedian, but Edwards handles her too arbitrarily. She is always just exactly as drunk - or as sober - as the plot requires, and that's a mistake. We should believe she's an unpredictable time bomb.

If the movie lacks a strong human core that we can care about - the sort of core Peter Sellers and Dudley Moore have created with Edwards - it does have a lot of funny stuff going on. Among the good things are a batty performance by John Larroquette, as Basinger's insanely jealous former fiancee, and a completely new twist on a car chase scene.

Edwards also has fun with a long set-piece in a mansion with lots of rooms and doors and windows and trellises for a slapstick corridor scene almost as good as the hilarious one that took place in the hotel halls, rooms and balconies in "Victor/Victoria." But some of his other expensive inspirations don't work. Rarely, for example, has an entire house been moved for less comic effect than in this movie.

Is the movie worth seeing? Gee, I dunno. Most of the time I wasn't laughing. But when I was laughing, I was genuinely laughing - there are some absolutely inspired moments. This is the kind of movie that serves as a reminder that comedy is agonizingly difficult when it works, and even more trouble when it doesn't.

Popular Blog Posts

Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies: Part 1

The first part in a four-part series on what film can teach us about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

James Garner: 1928-2014

An obituary for the legendary James Garner, who has passed away at the age of 86.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus