Picks and Pans Review: Success
William Richert co-wrote (with Larry Cohen) and directed this goofy, uneven comedy in 1979 and it, along with his far superior Winter Kills, is enjoying a cultish rerelease. A far easier case could be made for Winter Kills, a dark, fast-paced spoof of a Kennedyesque assassination. Both films star Jeff Bridges and stunning ex-model Belinda Bauer. Success has its amusements but doesn't really go anywhere. Bridges works for a Munich-based credit card company run by Ned Beatty and has married Beatty's outrageously narcissistic daughter, Bauer. When they go to a party, Bridges sees her at a mirror making eyes at herself and overdubs, "I wasn't the only one who couldn't keep his eyes off her; she couldn't either." Beatty is an insulting, demanding father-in-law who sees Bridges as good for nothing. To break out of this wimpy image, Bridges takes on an alter ego. As "Mac," he works out daily with his mistress-instructor Bianca Jagger and roughs up his wife. He tortures her, too—by demanding that she cook for him. She, of course, falls in love with "Mac," while he uses his new disguise to pull off a $5 million heist. At that point the plot falls apart under the weight of its own convolutions. The pacing bogs down; the gags run too far apart to keep things moving. Bauer's deadpan bimbo beauty could make her a fine comedienne, but Bridges is, as usual, barely more than cute. As for Jagger's pseudo-smoldering brand of androgyny, it looks much more charismatic on her ex-husband. (PG)
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