Picks and Pans Review: 8 Million Ways to Die

updated 05/12/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/12/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jeff Bridges' performance as an alcoholic cop is the only reason to get involved in this adaptation of a Lawrence Block novel directed by Hal (Coming Home) Ashby. The plot, set in Los Angeles, is a mix of The Lost Weekend and Klute. After he's been sneaking some sips on the job, Bridges inadvertently kills a drug suspect and is forced into a leave of absence. Six sober months later he meets a kooky call girl, Alexandra (American Flyers) Paul, who wants to change professions but is too afraid of her pimp, TV actor Randy Brooks. When she is murdered, Bridges goes on a two-day binge. (He's so convincing you can almost feel the pain of his hangover.) Then he starts investigating Brooks's role in Paul's death, which leads him to another hooker, Rosanna Arquette (much less sparkly than usual). There's another suspect as well: drug boss Andy (The Mean Season) Garcia. By this time everyone is talking in such impenetrable drug world jargon that it's hard to tell who might have done what to whom. It's also hard to care. The picture has some of the grim mood of the '40s films noirsW resembles, without having any of the twists and turns peculiar to those movies. Good as he is, Bridges can't compensate for the scarcity of ideas. (R)

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