Picks and Pans Review: The Man with Two Brains

updated 07/04/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

When left to his own devices, Steve Martin is hilarious or grating—never boring. His film pairings with director Carl Reiner—from The Jerk to Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid' to this one—have, however, taken a steady tumble from broad comic potential to bland mediocrity. This semi-sci-fi comedy is, at its best, lackluster. Martin plays an egotistical surgeon whose revolutionary invention is a screw-'top skull that facilitates brain surgery. While the notion seems workable—especially when Martin tries to perform two operations at the same time—the film quickly gets entangled in a cumbersome plot. Kathleen (Body Heat) Turner plays a professional black widow who systematically nags her hubbies to death. David (Time Bandits) Warner's talents are wasted as a mad scientist who keeps the entire innards of a Victorian castle in his condominium. Warner isn't around enough to develop a comic rapport with Martin, who seems unsure whether the doctor he's portraying is supposed to be sane or mad. But then, halfway funny bits and tentative notions characterize this film. Maybe what Martin and Reiner have proved is that when it comes to comedy, two brains aren't necessarily better than one. (R)

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