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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_aprsjzadl6cggwjedxexw7kfnbc

Transcendence

"Transcendence" is a serious science fiction movie filled with big ideas and powerful images, but it never quite coheres, and the end is a copout.

Thumb_heaven_is_for_real

Heaven Is for Real

Faith-based film tries reaching past its audience, but falls back on preaching to its own choir way too much.

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
Far Flunger Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

The Man with One Red Shoe

  |  

"The Man with One Red Shoe" is a bad case of burnout. Maybe it's me; maybe it's the people who made this movie. We both start with the same problem. Both of us have seen "The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe," the French comedy that inspired this Hollywood retread. The French movie is about a case of mistaken identity. The American movie is about the same case of mistaken identity. The French have a name for this phenomenon: deja vu. So do we: ripoff.

The movie begins with infighting at the Central Intelligence Agency. For reasons that need not concern us here, one faction at the CIA goes out to find a totally innocent bystander, and shadow him as if he were a spy. Other factions at the agency fall for the trick, and think he is a spy, which is very disconcerting for the guy. Meanwhile, the guy falls in love with one of the spies, a pretty blond girl with two black shoes. Somebody must have thought this was a great idea for a movie. How else can we account for the talented cast that is sent on a forced march through this dreck? The man with the red shoe is played by Tom Hanks, who also was seen in "Splash," where he fell in love with a tall blond girl with one green tail. The supporting cast includes Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Jim Belushi, Carrie Fisher and Ed Herrmann. They're all out of luck in this movie, which requires them to consistently and repeatedly do stupid and inexplicable things for the simple reason that if any character in this movie had an IQ higher than his age, the plot would be figured out and the movie would be over.

"The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe" was not a very funny movie in the first place. But at least it was somebody's original inspiration. Like the Burt Reynolds remake of Francois Truffaut's "The Man Who Loved Women," this movie fails to understand that the French originals were about more than plot.

They were about attitude. In the French film, the hero had a sort of goofy offbeat charm. Like the hero of all the Jacques Tati films, he was blissfully unaware of the chaos happening all around him. In the "Red Shoe" version, Hanks tries to actually deal with the craziness that surrounds him, and that's a fatal error. (Likewise, in "The Man Who Loved Women," the Burt Reynolds remake failed to understand that the promiscuous hero of the Truffaut film was a man with a problem, not a solution.)

Reviewing failed comedies is a thankless task. Rereading the paragraphs above, I see I've tried to use logic in order to explain what went wrong with the movie. My mistake, of course, is to assume that logic has anything to do with comedy. If "The Man with One Red Shoe" had been funny, it wouldn't have mattered that it was a witless remake. But it is not funny, and that, I guess, is that.

Popular Blog Posts

Hashtag Activism and the #CancelColbert campaign

The recent #CancelColbert campaign on Twitter raises all kinds of issues about racism, but also about hashtag activism.

For the love of it: notes on the decline of Entertainment Weekly, the firing of Owen Gleiberman, and the ongoing end of an era

Owen Gleiberman's sacking as lead film critic of Entertainment Weekly — part of a ritual bloodletting of staffers at ...

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.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus