This is one of those movies for which the phrase ‘crushing disappointment’ might just have been created. After Heathers and Meet the Applegates,

director Michael Lehman looked like a

man to watch, but then came the resounding thud that was Hudson Hawk - and now this, where the level of humour is pitched at a level of abyss-like dumbness rarely explored by a film that pays a flying visit to the cinemas before nestling down in video shop purgatory.

The real problem is that it just doesn’t go anywhere. Ho-hoper band The Lone Rangers, in the persons of singer-songwriter and misguided artist Brendan Fraser, clapped-out bassist Steve Buscemi (in a life-shortening fright wig) and stoopid drummer Adam

: Airheads (15) (Michael Lehman, 1994, USA) Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, ' Adam Sandler, Joe Mantegna, Michael 3

5 McKean) 92 mins. From Fri 18.

station so they can get their demo i played. And, er that’s it really. Most of the film is confined to a few claustrophobic sets as the guys wrangle with laid back DJ Joe Mantegna, cynical station boss Michael McKean and (eventually) record company A&R lizard Judd Nelson. The comic situations simply

I aren’t inventive enough to command the attention (too much shouting and

crap slapstick) while any comments the film might have to make on the

nature of the music industry are banal in the extreme. Hey, the people who

5 run the business are only out to make

a fast buck out of gullible kids - now that’s a surprise! Airheads pretty

much sums it up. (Trevor Johnston)

Sandler, unwittingly take over a radio Selected general release.


‘fairytale wonderland'

New York City beat cop Charlie Lang (Nicolas Cage) is the kind ofguy for whom phrases like ‘A promise is a promise' are the rules of life. not outdated cliches. So when he finds himself short for

A Good Man In Africa: ‘indifferent scripting’


Just as the casting of suitable actors can be the making of a film, so miscasting can be its downfall. A

\' , painful case in point is this adaptation -~ g of William Boyd’s comic novel about

1 the political, diplomatic and sexual

, machinations surrounding an impending election in the emerging

i oil-rich African state of Kinjanja.

! In a role tailor-made for Tim Spall, we l have handsome, more bankable Australian actor Colin Friels as Morgan leafy, a frustrated mid-level British diplomat; as his boorish, domineering boss, British High Commissioner Arthur Fanshawe, we have American actor John Lithgow, whose ludicrous posh ‘English’ accent has not improved since Cliffhanger and, as the wily, would-be president of this burgeoning, corrupt African state, Professor Sam Adekunle, we have American actor Louis Gossett Jr, who looks and talks more like the baseball player he once was than the ambitious, highly intelligent politician he is meant to be. Gratifyingly, this cynical attempt to appeal to an imaginary international audience

backfired spectacularly at the US box office, where the film sank without trace.

As with Stars And Bars, author/ screenwriter Boyd has succeeded, through indifferent scripting and poor judgement, in turning a laugh-out-loud novel into a groan-out-loud movie. The bare bones of the story remain, with Morgan caught up in a web of political and sexual intrigue as he ineptly fails to won his boss’s daffy daughter, Priscilla (Sarah Jane Fenton), while succumbing to the mercenary advances of Adekunle’s bored, amorous wife, Celia (Joanne Whalley Kilmer), the discovery of which leaves him open to blackmail. However, while Driving Miss Daisy director Bruce Beresford does a workmanlike job behind the camera, not even Sean Connery - who, as if to point out the film’s most crippling weaknesses, is perfectly suited to his role as the morally unassailable, golf-playing Dr Alex Murray - can save this filmic fiasco from total disaster. (Nigel Floyd)

A Good Man In Africa (15) (Bruce Beresford, UK, 1994) Colin Friels, Sean Connery, John Lithgow. 95 mins. From Fri 25. Selected general release.


Whether you see Julia Roberts’s latest 2

vehicle as an updated screwball comedy or a suspense film with laughs, the fact remains that I Love Trouble is a curious hybrid. Recalling the days when sex was all in the mind and the bad guy died bloodlessly from a single pistol shot, the film’s background of rival reporters - a guy and a girl, naturally - sparring for the big story while resisting their obvious attraction for each other is both corny and pleasing.

Roberts is the ‘qulck witted’ Sabrina Peterson, cub reporter on the Chicago Globe, on the trail of a political scandal (who isn’t these days) and showing old hand Peter Brackett (Hick Holte) a thing or two along the way. llissolute Chicago Chronicle columnist Brackett is shaken out of his complacency only when Peterson keeps scooping him on a mystery that

grows out of an apparently straightforward train crash. :

Co-writers Charles Shyer and Nancy : Meyers were previously responsible i for Private Benjamin, Baby Boom and 2 Father Of The Bride, and their track record speaks largely for this film too - I Love Trouble has its entertaining moments without ever being spectacular. As Brackett, Holte seems : perfect casting, a jaded hack living off a glorious past. Roberts,


resourceful and pretty, but not much else: she can deliver a comic line, but a great performance would be something else. The film can boast a fine supporting cast - from Robert Loggia to Saul Rubinek - and there is a satisfyineg familiar ring to both the comedy and mystery elements. Just leave your brain at the door. (Anwar


I Love Trouble (PG) (Charles Shyer, US, 1994) Julia Roberts, Hick Holte, Saul Rubinek. 123 mins. From Fri 18. General release.

plays Peterson as

I Love Trouble: ‘curious hybrid'

a tip for waitress Yvonne Biasi (Bridget Fonda). he suggests splitting his winnings with her down the middle if the lottery ticket he's just bought comes up trumps. Next day. 34 million richer alter the draw. Charlie is determined to do the right thing. much to the anger and disbelief of his materialistic wife. Muriel (Rosie Perez). The money affects each of the trio in a different way: Muriel goes on a wild shopping spree. Yvonne buys the cafe she worked in and establishes a free table for the homeless. Charlie gives sums to needy causes and treats the local kids. As tension grows within his marriage. it's inevitable that he and Yvonne fall in love.

This is New York warmly painted as a fairytale wonderland. where kids from different ethnic groups hang about the street in order to play baseball with their best buddy. the neighbourhood cop. It's a city where Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett croon in the background as the inhabitants lay aside their cynicism and rally to the aid of those who have touched their hearts. It's also a place so brimming over with forgiveness that the audience wills the like-minded and like- hearted heroes to get it together. even though they're still legally married to other people. Adultery. in this unashamedly feelgood landscape. is a good thing.

This year's .S'leeplestv In Seattle. released in the UK to coincide with the launch of the National Lottery. I! (fan/(l Happen '1}; You is a much surer bet for a winning ticket. (Alan Morrison)

I! (bu/(l Happen 'Ii) You //’(i) (Andrew Bergman. US, /‘)‘)4) .VieU/as‘ Cage. lira/eel I‘m/Ida. Roxie I’ere:. /0/ mins. I’lmn /-‘r: II: General release.

The List 18 November—l December 1994 19 L