Picks and Pans Review: Ruthless People
"ABOUTLAST NIGHT..." It's not a good idea to make a love story about two people who are so self-absorbed, sniveling and bad-tempered that the audience wants them to end up in a dumpster, not living happily ever after. It's not a good idea to make a social satire about single people when they are already so inconsequential and empty that the effect resembles trying to puncture a deflated balloon. That doesn't leave much for this movie to do other than show off how handsome Rob (Youngblood) Lowe is and how charming Demi (St. Elmo's Fire) Moore can be. They play the couple in question, a restaurant supply salesman and an advertising agency artist, but they're not really to blame for the ill will their characters generate. Nor are Jim (The Man With One Red Shoe) Belushi and newcomer Elizabeth Perkins. Belushi plays Lowe's best friend, a relentless male chauvinist boor who keeps saying things like "You never call a broad more than once a week"; his lines are never any funnier than that but they're usually a lot more obscene. Perkins is Moore's best friend, an all-time sourpuss who won't stop trying to sabotage the Lowe-Moore relationship. All four of these tiresome malcontents spend most of the movie griping about each other. They're also so shallow that Lowe's and Moore's idea of a tragic problem is whether to have ham or turkey for Thanksgiving. The film is the first feature by Emmy-winning director Edward Zwick. It was adapted from David Mamet's play Sexual Perversity in Chicago by Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue, who have never had a screenplay produced before and whose talents would seem more appropriate for writing tomato paste can labels. When Belushi tells Lowe he's so good-looking that "the best thing that could happen to you would be an industrial accident," the film's high point in humor has been reached. The film was shot mostly in Chicago, which is portrayed as a beautiful city inhabited only by small-minded people who are always in a bad mood; its citizens should sue for defamation of character. (R)
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