Picks and Pans Review: Deal of the Century

updated 11/14/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/14/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Imagine Chevy Chase walking up to you on the street. He has Sigourney Weaver and Gregory Hines with him. He begins to talk about the ominous international trade in weapons. A smile starts to form on your lips as you wait for the punch lines. An hour later, you're still waiting. It dawns on you: We're talking pedantic lecture here, not humor. Anyone who doesn't merely want to imagine that experience and feels like being bored stiff for a couple of hours should see this film. While it is billed as a "black comedy," there are few attempts at humor. Chase shoots himself in the foot (twice). He moans at one point: "I think I'm going to vomit on the floor." An excessive amount of footage is devoted to the phallic symbolism of rockets being launched or keeling over on the pad. To give the benefit of the doubt to director William (Cruising) Friedkin and screenwriter Paul (Risky Business) Brick-man, the film seems well-intentioned; and certainly the arms business is fair game for both criticism and lampooning. But this movie misuses its cast: Chase is wrong as a weapons dealer; Hines is a washed-out pilot who turns to a born-again faith—that's only one of the many aimless plot turns—and Weaver portrays a woman with gorgeous legs who's only around for scenic value. They all seem at times to have wandered into a documentary. Chase, especially, seems mesmerized, and audiences are likely to feel a snooze coming on, too. Title notwithstanding, this movie is no bargain. (PG)

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