Picks and Pans Review: Partners
Nobody would dare make a film today in which all the blacks were dumb, subservient shufflers or all the women were helpless, poor-little-me darlings. But this film takes exactly that approach to homosexuals, and it is as insulting to straight people's intelligence as it is to gays' sexuality. Ryan O'Neal and John Hurt are the heroes—O'Neal as a tough homicide detective and Hurt as a gay police clerk. They are ordered to team up and pretend to be lovers to help catch a gay model's murderer. The mismatched team has been a staple of detective mysteries at least since Holmes and Watson, and this notion could work too. But Partners' director, James Burrows, a veteran of TV's Taxi, in his first feature here, and screenwriter Francis (La Cage aux Folles) Veber make Cruising seem a model of understanding and intelligence by comparison. Almost every gay character in the film is a raving queen. Even Hurt, ordinarily a marvelous actor, is ghastly, playing his character as a mincing, simpering, hand-on-hip stereotype. O'Neal is called on only to look handsome, which he is terrific at, and disgusted, which he doesn't do quite so well despite the head start the script gives him. Even the murder plot is feeble and ineptly set up. Burrows and this movie ought to get back in the closet. (R)
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