Picks and Pans Review: Little Treasure

updated 05/27/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/27/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Any movie that has Margot Kidder, Burt Lancaster and Ted (Cheers) Danson in its cast starts off with such an advantage, you'd think it couldn't help but be at least moderately involving. Oops. Kidder demonstrates that enchanting combination of vulnerability and armor-hided stubbornness at which she is so adept. Danson is so relaxed and easygoing it's impossible not to identify with him. Lancaster is lovably grizzled and blustery. But they have almost no movie to use all that acting in. Writer-director Alan Sharp, who has written such shoot-'em-up films as Ulzana's Raid and The Osterman Weekend but has never directed before, seems to have no sense of the way people really talk and/or no ability to embellish the way they talk in a literate way. His plot is not convincing for a second. Lancaster is an ex-bank robber who has spent most of his life in Mexico, where he invites his estranged daughter, Kidder, for a visit. Danson, an ex-seminarian, has run off to Mexico for reasons never really made clear. The treasure of the title is some buried loot Lancaster stashed in New Mexico; the search for that cache becomes the movie's focal point. The three principals and such deft supporting actors as John Pearce and James Hall pull the film along for a while, but they might as well have been dragging a set of refrigerators across the Mexican desert that was the main location. It's interesting to watch for a little while but all too obviously pointless. Producer Herb (Time After Time) Jaffe has raised some comparisons between Little Treasure and John Huston's classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but this film doesn't even come close to being in the same league. (R)

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