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Review of the day for the week of April 6, 1998.

Monday:
Secret of My Success

Secret of My Success
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The Secret of My Success is a lively comedy based on the premise of a very unrealistic start in business.

Talented actor Michael J. Fox stars as the unfortunately named Brantley Foster ("Someone actually gave you that name?" asks a rude guy), a country boy gone to the city looking for work. Despite a college degree, he has a difficult time securing a job because he lacks experience. As a last resort, he goes to his distant cousin Howard Prescott (Richard Jordan I) for help. Prescott takes pity on him - and offers him a job in the mailroom. Seeing this as a glowing opportunity, Brantley takes some sneaky measures to move up in the company. Posing as a new executive in a different department, he makes some valid suggestions - and makes eyes at the pretty and brainy female executive that he has a crush on. Meanwhile, he has an affair with Prescott's wife (he doesn't know she's Prescott's wife until Prescott comes home and almost catches them together, in a very comical scene).

Fox, a very gifted and appealing actor, was perfect for this role. The other actors were perfectly cast, and the nonsensical plot is kept me laughing the whole way through.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
Meet the Deedles

Meet the Deedles
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When I saw Meet the Deedles I felt like my intelligence was being insulted. How could the people who made this movie expect anyone of normal IQ to find it amusing?

The Deedles brothers, Phil and Stew (Paul Walker and Steve Van Wormer) are twins - a couple of ne'er do well surfer bums. They accidentally wind up in Yellowstone Park, and decide to pose as Park Ranger recruits (the real recruits are lost in the woods). One brother first suggests the idea, and the other refuses. "Nothing could convince me," he says. Then a beautiful female ranger walks in. He's convinced.

Their job is to get rid of the cute but annoying prairie dogs infesting the park before the big "billionth birthday" celebration for Old Faithful. Not really being Park Rangers - or expert prairie dog exterminators, they don't have a clue, and mess things up even more. Meanwhile, there's some sort of a subplot about a villain trying to ruin the ongoing celebration..

The Deedles is aimed at younger children, but I don't know if even they will find it amusing. In any case, it was far too predictable and idiotic. Words fail me when I try to express my disgust at the scene where Phil and his love interest Jesse Ryan (A .J. Langer) are eating live worms; they share the same worm and wind up kissing. Eating worms? Excuse me, but I'm trying to eat popcorn here.

My Rating = One Star

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Wednesday:
Hello Again

Hello Again
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Shelly Long stars as a reincarnated housewife in the screwball comedy, Hello Again.

Lucy Chadman (Long) is a klutzy housewife who is constantly embarrassing her rich doctor husband at swanky parties. She's much more comfortable volunteering at a day care center and visiting her sister Zelda's New Age bookshop than rubbing elbows with the rich. Then, she dies. Zelda, the aforementioned kooky New Ager, offers Lucy a South Korean chicken ball and Lucy chokes to death. A year later, Zelda is able to reincarnate her, and Lucy discovers a few unpleasant surprises.

Her husband is now married to Kim, one of the rich snobs she didn't much care for. Angry with him, Lucy decides that they are through (after all, she IS legally dead) and begins a romance with the doctor who tried to save her life (and obviously failed). Meanwhile, she's a media sensation, the first person who ever came back to life a year after her death.

The story is very unbelievable, but is witty and amusing for the most part. It has enough funny scenes to make up for what the plot (and the acting) lacks.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Thursday:
The Odd Couple II

The Odd Couple II
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My problem with The Odd Couple II is that I just don't like geezer comedies. In fact, I don't see how anyone who is less than sixty years old could. ( Although I enjoyed the TV show, I don't think this movie does the show justice.)

Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) and Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon) are, of course, the odd couple. On the show, they were roommates; now, apparently, they haven't seen each other in seventeen years and are brought back together only because Felix's daughter and Oscar's son are getting married. Naturally, they start grating on each other's nerves right away. Laid back slob Oscar absentmindedly forgets Felix's suitcase. Felix is apparently allergic to everything he comes in contact with, because he's hacking, coughing, and sneezing every place he goes - you have to wonder if he isn't just allergic to himself!

I'm afraid that unlike many devoted older fans that found Lemmon and Matthau tremendously amusing, I just couldn't get into it. There were a few mildly diverting scenes, but nothing spectacular.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Blind Date

Blind Date
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Bruce Willis plays Walter Davis, an uncharacteristically nerdy and rather pathetic businessman in Blind Date.

When Walter's brother sets him up on a blind date and cautions him not to get her drunk, he doesn't know what he's getting into. At first Nadia (Kim Basinger) seems very nice and down to earth. Then he gives her some champagne, and he's in for one of the worst nights of his life. She embarrasses him at an important business dinner where she gets him fired. Meanwhile her psychotic ex-boyfriend David (John Laroquette) is out to make trouble for them - and does. When Nadia finally starts to sober up, Walter's so frazzled that he gets drunk and embarrasses her at a party thrown by her friends. By the next day, he's been arrested, and although he wants nothing to do with her, she feels responsible, and even agrees to marry David, a defense lawyer, if he'll get Walter off the hook. And another hilarious sequence of event occurs.

The acting is wonderful, and the comedic scenes are nicely done. This silly movie is definitely a fun rental.

My Rating = Three Star

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Saturday:
City Slickers II

City Slickers II
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Although the first City Slickers was much more highly acclaimed than City Slickers II, which basically bombed at the box office going straight to video, that doesn't necessarily mean that the first movie was any better. Both are lively comedies that are difficult to compare.

If you saw the first movie, you know that Billy Crystal was Mitch Robbins, a guy whose life was altered for the better by a couple weeks on a dude ranch with his friend Phil (Daniel Stern), whose was also having personal problems. In City Slickers II, Crystal finds what he believes to be a treasure map, and returns to the Wild West, once again accompanied by Phil, and also joined by his annoying brother-in-law.

In the stupidest/best scene in the movie, Phil thinks he's been bitten in the butt by a rattlesnake and implores Crystal to suck the poison out of the wound before it gets into Phil's bloodstream. Crystal, being such a great friend, reluctantly agrees, but, fortunately, discovers that Phil was only stabbed by a cactus. Overcome with emotion, Phil exclaims, "What a great friend! You were going to suck my ass!"

Of course, you have to appreciate this brand of comedy to be amused, but if you do, you'll love it.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Sunday:
Lost in Space

Lost in Space
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Lost in Space is a movie critic's nightmare. Although it is a terribly tedious film, it's sure to be a big hit anyway, so by giving it a bad review, I'm dooming myself to hordes of hate mail.

The plot of Lost in Space is so ridiculously simplistic that all I need to say is it's exactly that - the story of a family lost in space. The details: it takes place in the year 2058, and chronicles the adventures of the famous Robinson television family. The characters are as downright exasperating as the cliche lines. At one point young Will Robinson says, "Robot, won't you be my friend?" I wanted to gag on my popcorn. There was more saccharin in that line than in my jumbo Diet Coke.

I thought the movie would never end - it seemed to stretch on for several hours. As for the hyped up special effects, they certainly live up to the hype, but, honestly, they just gave me eyestrain. All I can says is that I wish Lost in Space had gotten lost on its way to movie theatres.

My Rating = One Star

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