Picks and Pans Review: Blue City

UPDATED 06/09/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/09/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

Michelle Manning says she considered herself lucky in this, her directorial debut, because she was able "to fire guns, kill people, stage lovemaking sequences, destroy buildings and blow up cars." Great. Now all she has to do is learn how to tell a story. The setting is a crooked Florida town, and Judd (St. Elmo's Fire) Nelson plays the son of the mayor. Nelson left home five years earlier when his dad married a voluptuous vamp, played by Anita (Broadway's Nine) Morris. Hoping for reconciliation, he returns home only to find that his father has been murdered. But what's supposed to be an emotional roller coaster is as flat as the Florida landscape. Nelson's career as a schoolboy basketball star, which fortunately for critics is discussed in the press material for the movie, is never mentioned onscreen. Thus, a potentially poignant scene in the beginning—when the boy leaves his basketball at his father's grave—is meaningless. When Nelson vows to find his father's killer, the most obvious suspect is his father's former partner, Scott (The Right Stuff) Wilson, who's now sleeping with Morris. In his crusade against Wilson, Nelson enlists a high school buddy, whose sister is Ally (Short Circuit) Sheedy. She just happens to work at the police station and can obtain files on the murder. There's a twist at the end that helps redeem the movie, but most of it is spent staring up at Nelson's substantial proboscis as he issues threats like this one to Morris: "You're going to experience grief and woe of biblical proportion." Moviegoers may take that as fair warning. (R)

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