Picks and Pans Review: Supergirl

updated 12/17/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/17/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

Supergirl is very much like her cousin Superman. She fights evil reflexively, the way most people swat mosquitoes. She does quick costume changes, though she must take a gallon of bleach into the phone booths with her, since she goes from mousy brunette in her civilian togs to sex-bomb blonde when she Supes up. And she has the basic arsenal of bending-steel-with-the-bare-hands powers, though in this case she also has the power to bore just about anyone into submission. Directed by Jeannot (Jaws 2) Szwarc, this movie has some flashy effects and is never offensive in its violence or its language. It is merely bland. Helen Slater, the newcomer who plays Supergirl, is sweetly pretty. But she's far less charismatic than Faye Dunaway, who plays a small-time carnival charlatan turned archvillainess by a magic device. Dunaway is all glaring eyes and flaring nostrils. This is her standard fiend-level performance these days, and she and Peter Cook, who is her devilish suitor, are the main sources of fun. (Peter O'Toole shows up briefly as a sort of guru.) As an antisexist message, the film shows the kids that females can be superwhatevers. But as entertainment, it's about as much fun as watching a hunk of Kryptonite glow for a couple of hours. (PG)

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