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Review of the day for the week of August 31, 1998.

Monday:
Big Business

Big Business
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In Big Business Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin each play a set of twins who are mixed up at birth so that one twin goes with the other twin's twin and vice versa. Still with me?

Okay, Midler plays the daughters of a rich snob, and Tomlin plays the daughters of a country bumpkin. One of each goes to New York with the rich snob and her husband (who quickly bought the hospital's conglomerate where they were born when his wife went into labor forty miles from the nearest decent hospital). Coincidentally, both sets of twins are named Sadie and Rose.

About thirty or forty years later, Sadie is in charge of her father's company, and she is just as snooty and dislikable as her mother. Rose, a klutzy constant embarrassment to Sadie, dreams of a quiet life in the country. When Sadie decides to sell the small country business, Rose and Sadie from the quiet little town decide to go to New York and protest. And, as you can tell, a few hilarious problems arise.

Big Business cracked me up. The actors are great, the scripting is original and diverting, and the characters are crazy enough to be hysterical. I was impressed by how Tomlin and Midler each managed to play to very different characters - in the same film.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Tuesday:
Father Hood

Father Hood
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Patrick Swayze is not a model father in the movie Father Hood. In fact, he's a positively crummy father when you get right down to it.

Swayze plays Jack Charles, a jailbird whose kids were put in state-run homes when their mother died. His teenage daughter escapes the abusive home where she lives, and convinces her now temporarily free father to pick up her younger brother too. At first he tries to dump them with his mother, but she's not exactly your usual cookie-baking old granny. To be more precise, she's a gambler and a cheat, the cops are after her too, and it's pretty obvious where Swayze got his less desirable traits.

So he ends up taking the kids to New Orleans with him, where he plans to pull off a big job that could set him up for life. While he often yells at his kids, and is probably corrupting them with his life of crime, he does do a few things right as a parent - he always reminds them to put on their seatbelts before breaking traffic laws or engaging in high - speed chases. And his intentions are good - he only brought them with him to keep them out of an abusive institution.

Although not the best comedy ever, Father Hood is quite entertaining, and worth watching. Swayze isn't my favorite actor - and what's with the Elvis-style hairdo he sports in this film? - but he was well cast in this role. Lively action scenes and funny capers keep the pace moving so the plot never slows down.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Wednesday:
Wrongfully Accused

Wrongfully Accused
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Leslie Nielson is the perfect actor to play the wrongfully accused Ryan in the hilarious and aptly named comedy Wrongfully Accused.

Ryan, a concert violinist, is quite successful despite his rock star-like antics. (Sometimes after playing a classical piece, he launches into a rock number and smashes his violin the way rock singers smash their guitars.) One disastrous night, while meeting a date, Ryan winds up framed for murder. (While Wrongfully Accused rips off and spoofs many movies, The Fugitive is the one it most resembles.) Ryan resorts to all sorts of antics to prove himself innocent. In one disgusting scene, Ryan, now on the run, poses as a baby bird so the mother bird will drop worms into his mouth. Ewwwwwww!!! (I was vaguely reminded of "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls".)

If you want to see a movie so stupid it's guaranteed to make you forget everything that's troubling you - and probably everything that's not, too - Wrongfully Accused is it. Ryan is a dense but likable character, and isn't it great that he has such an appreciation for good music? Anyone who doesn't like this movie can't have much of an appreciation for idiot comedy.

My Rating = Four Stars

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Thursday:
Why Do Fools Fall in Love?

Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
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Why Do Fools Fall in Love? prompted another question in my mind: why did people like listening to all those old rock and roll songs?

Why Do Fools Fall in Love chronicles the life of fifties singer Frankie Lymon (Larenz Tate). Apparently he had three wives since three "widows" came forward after his death, hoping to receive royalties. The plot keeps switching back from their arguments to the times when they each married Frankie.

Zola Taylor (Halle Berry) is the glamorous singer Frankie met while on the road; then there's Elizabeth Waters (Vivica A. Fox), the shoplifting jailbird whom he met while she was stealing a bottle of perfume from a department store. And last, he married Emira Eagle (Lela Rochon) a very straight, nice and rather dull school-teacher. Eventually he did a Kurt Cobain and overdosed on heroin, and that was that.

Why Do Fools Fall in Love? was not particularly engaging; it plays more like a documentary than a movie. Although it held my attention, I wasn't on the edge of my seat, either. The fifties music might but great for nostalgia buffs - but it just grated on my nerves.

My Rating = Two Stars

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Friday:
Dead Man on Campus

Dead Man on Campus
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Dead Man on Campus is a hilarious movie along the lines of Dumb and Dumber.

If you grew up watching Mark Paul Gosselar on Saved by the Bell, you'll definitely love Dead Man on Campus. Gosselar's character Cooper is like an extension of his Saved by the Bell character Zack: he's a lazy slacker who never studies, rarely goes to class, and gets in as much trouble as possible at college.

His roommate Josh (Tom Everett Scott), on the other hand, is a good medical student who studies hard and doesn't like to goof off. Cooper's infectious charm gets the best of him, however, and soon they're both about to get kicked out of college.

That's when they discover that any student whose roommate commits suicide automatically gets A's, no matter what. What a way out! All Josh and Cooper have to do is find a depressed, suicidal roommate and push him over the edge.

Easier said than done. Some suicidal people are also psychotic, delusional, paranoid, or worse. And getting them to commit suicide is a bad idea - if you happen to be in the car when they get in a high- speed chase with the police.

You don't have to be psychotic to enjoy Dead Man on Campus. This incredibly stupid but overwhelmingly amusing film features nothing but great actors, great dialogue, and great fun.

My Rating = Four Stars

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