One thing’s ior sure: this ain’t no western. A card-con movie trussed up with horses, six-guns, riverboat gamblers and a splendid set of sideburns, Maverick has great locations and costumes, but it’s as mixed up as any modern stab at the genre could possibly be. Somebody, somewhere along the line, suddenly remembered that a plot might be a good thing, but director Richard Donner’s handling of William Goldman’s script is particularly ham- fisted. Self-contained set-pieces long outstay their welcome and contribute to the feeling that this is a movie patched together in such a half- hearted manner that the hasty stitching isn’t just showing, it’s already beginning to unravel.

The main story structure has honorable gambler Bret Maverick trying to raise enough money to enter a big-league poker game with a stake of half a million dollars. 0n the way, he cracks a few quips, almost gets hung, meets wily female poker-player Jodie Foster, cracks a few more quips, ; falls in with old-style lawman James :

Garner, and eventually pulls a sting on the lot of us.

James Garner’s TV Maverick had a laid-back, rascally appeal, but here the character is merely an excuse for Mel Gibson to showcase his supposedly unpredictable quirks. Bret Maverick is a less manic,more engagingly comic screen creation than the nutter-with-a-badge played by Gibson in his lethal Weapon outings, but Donner - who also directed the star in the buddy cop trilogy - again gives his star too much rein. That said, it’s Gibson that punters pay their pocket-money to see, and to that extent Maverick offers value-for- money. Propping up the star vehicle are a rather miscast Jodie Foster, an array of pantomime cameos and, the movie’s saving grace, the gentlemanly

charm of the original Maverick James ; Garner. It’s rollicking, pie-packaged i entertainment with no narrative sense,

so you’ll just have to throw your money on the table and call its bluff. (Alan Morrison)

Maverick (PG) (Richard Donner, US, 1994) Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James

Garner. 127 mins. From Fri 15. General


The Beverly Hillbillies: “desperate parodies and inane slapstick’


For those not up to scratch with their American television history studies,

3 THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES J The Beverly Hillbillies was a 60s

. : \ (35*. .. - , '4’ ' g 1' E

sitcom featuring the Clampett family, a bunch of naive backwoods illiterates who struck oil, became billionaires and moved to Beverly Hills. The joke centred around these poor fish being stuck out of water with only a billion dollars to look after them. llow the ioke’s the same, the screen’s iust bigger. There’s Jed (Jim Varney) who finds good in everyone, tough old Granny (Cloris leachman) the moonshine maker, pneumatic young tomboy Elly May (Erika Eleniak) and hungry dumb Jethro (Diedrich Bader). Once in the smoke, the four have

; brown-nosing corporate banker Milburn Drysdale (Dabney Coleman)

and his super efficient but totally gawky sidekick Jane Hathaway (Lily Tomlin) to pamper their dosh and answer their every whim.

Can a film really be this bad? Here

j are several actors and a director who


Maverick: ‘rollicking, prepackaged entertainment'

( should know a lot better in search of a laugh. As such, it’s a tragedy: the laugh is never found. Admittedly, there

i are two almost wry moments amid the

| excruciatingly bad puns, desperate

parodies and inane slapstick. The plot of this completely risible small-to- large screen adaption matters not one jot, as the writers have gone for the formula of a laugh every 37 seconds and a stupid face or pose every minute. It’s a formula that might work when you have frequent breaks for commercials, but not over an hour- and-a-half. Apart from the completely wooden Varney, this leaves the actors trying their hearts out and, aside from

Tomlin, achieving absolutely zilch.

(T horn Dibdin)

The Beverly Hillbillies (PG) (Penelope

Spheeris, US, 1993) Jim Varney, Cloris

Leachman, Erika Eleniak, Diedrick

Bader. From Fri 15: General release.

business rip-off masterminded by his


Those old Hanna-Barbera Flintstones cartoons will never lose their

boss (Kyle Maclachlan, glowing in i anachronistic yuppie chin ’n’ grin). f When Barney’s put out of a job, he and wife Betty (Rosie O’Donnell) move in popularity because kids are kept wlth Fred and Wilma (Elizabeth Perklns), but money and power have

spellbound by the colour and Fred’s . noisiness’ "hue aduns tune into the ' altered the Flintstone household for I the worse. i

prehistoric parody of modern domestic ' , , The Flintstones movre holds onto the 5

life. Brian (Beethoven) Levant’s big , , . ,

screen treatment of the TV classic 0"9'"a' 59"“ 39mm” 0' 5055M”

increases the divide. The dinosaurs subu'ba" "Vi"!!! '3‘" mam“ 5‘ “'m' a : post-80s morality tale. It’s an odd mix

are cute, the Stone-Age sets bright , and chunky, the characters suitably : mat may be! sup'is'W'Vv “’0 heavy 0" plot. When the one-liners do come,

larger-than-life; but by focusing on a 2 however, they’re worth the wait,

plot about corporate greed and

consumer avarice, the little ’uns are particularly when involving liz Taylor’s l '

left with hardly anything to hold their 3 wonderfully sell-parodllioe mother-in- law. A bit short of a blockbuster, but

interest. Fred (John Goodman) is promoted to by "0 means "18 Vabba'dabba dildo it could have been. (Alan Morrison)

an executive post at the quarry when The Flintstones (U) (Brian levant, US,

best pal Barney (Rick Moranis) swaps test results with him, but little does 1 1994) John Goodman. Rick Moranis, the Invable |unk know that he’s mere], E Elizabeth Perkins, Rosie O’Donnell. 92

being set up as the Stooge my a big 1 mins. From Fri 22. General release.

The Flintstones: “prehistoric parody'

sponsored by BAC'ARDI BLACK

The List l5—28 July 199419