Physical Evidence

By Adam Lippe

physevidOn the recently deceased website JumptheShark.com,* it was decided that adding Ted McGinley to a TV show was the death knell, the very moment that the show would take a downturn, never to recover.(examples include Happy Days, Dynasty, and The Love Boat).

In the case of the routine Burt Reynolds vehicle, Physical Evidence, he is the only saving grace. Playing the snobby, fratboy, stock broker fiancée of defense lawyer Theresa Russell (whose character’s name is Jennifer Hudson), McGinley, whines, pouts, threatens lawsuits, ignores her, demeans her, and is threatened by her power so much that as she becomes more and more confident in her job he tells her that the success is making her “mannish.” Even his pet names for her are fantastically embarrassing, reducing her to a cheerleader by calling her “Jenzer.”

tda-dvs-2009-03-18-0001mpg_000008241In fact, McGinley is so amusing in his role that you almost root for this boorish lout, thinking he can do better than Russell’s stiff, lifeless lawyer. When she [predictably] dumps him (supposedly for Reynolds, but their chemistry is so non-existent, that director Michael Crichton didn’t have the stomach to provide them with even a kissing scene,  but we do get romantic music to go with the sitcomy end credit freeze frame), you wish that the movie would follow “Kyle” onto more coked out late 80’s adventures. Russell is clearly lost anyway, half the time she’s supposed to be an inexperienced, girly barrister, the other half, she poses like a Nazi, not aided by her monochromatic wardrobe. The story is the last thing on anyone’s mind, and all the actors, tired of the old “did the alcoholic, righteous cop (Reynolds) kill the sleazy gangster, and if so will his lawyer find out before he hurts her?” That this was a proposed sequel to Jagged Edge is not a surprise (the only surprise, other than McGinley, is the opening scene involving, attempted suicide, bungee jumping, and a corpse), you can see the blueprint, in fact there’s no fresh details at all, only the blueprint for what goes into one of these forgettable thrillers. Even Burt’s wig looks disinterested.      

*JumptheShark.com was purchased by TV Guide, and along with it, deleting all 10 years of its back catalog of [negative] comments, so they could pretend that no show has ever jumped the shark, or even approached being sub-par.
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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.