With starring roles in three new films due for imminent release, KEANU REEVES is being hyped as the sex symbol for a new generation. But is he destined for the legendary status of James Dean or is he just a male bimbo? Paul Hullah investigates.

HE'S A MACHO GUY: in Point Break

n the post-Brat Pack frenzy of back-to-basics Hollywood, the search

for the enduring male heart-throb never

lets up. Requirements: testosterone (gallons), immaculate looks and physique (essential), weird name

(preferable). no marriage licence

(negotiable). acting ability (optional). In

pursuit of such traits. the flesh conveyor-belt

is working overtime to belch out a series of would-be Lotharios via high-profile flicks tailor-made to enhance the (purported) star-quality of each contestant. Gibson and Costner have the heavyweight screen-god title sewn up between them, but there’s a whole bunch of shavers queueing up to have a shot at the bantamweight crown. Patrick Swayze (too old). Keifer Sutherland (too ugly), Matt Dillon (too forgetable), Johnny Depp (too stupid). Christian Slater (too wooden) they’d all be Matinee Idols, if anyone bothered with matinees nowadays, and all had their names in the frame for a while. But as the New Age. New Man sensibility sweeps the West with everyone on the lookout for a clean-cut. safe-sex(y) hero for the 90s, it is the unlikely figure of oddball extraordinaire. Keanu Reeves, that is hogging the limelight.

Twenty-seven-year-old Keanu Charles Reeves (Kee to his mates) was born in Beirut, son of a Chinese-Hawaiian father and English hippie mother. He shot to fame in 1986 in River’s Edge, the morbid teen-murder drama, consolidating his impact in ’87 as Ted in the cult item Bil/And Ted’s ExeellentAdvemure (the sequel to which he recently completed). Dangerous Liaisons, Parenthood and I Love You To Death kept his unshaven features in the supplements and, as the 90s quest for the archetypal screen-lover intensifies, Reeves is suddenly marketed no longer as the square-peg of yore, but as a wised-up ‘serious’ proposition. Three imminent releases attempt to illustrate the breadth of his hitherto apparently one-dimensional appeal the Bill And Ted rerun. Kathryn Bigelow's surf-cop drama Point Break and the controversial My Own Private Idaho. in which he plays River Phoenix's gay lover. Someone, somewhere would like you to know that Keanu is this month‘s main contender. But can he last the distance?

Well. there is a small problem. Keanu means ‘cool mountain air‘ an appropriate monicker since. going on recent media exposure. fresh air is precisely what Reeves appears to have between his ears. ‘He has made inarticulate youth emotionally

HE'S SEXY: in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter

6'lncl.is122 November 5 December 1991