Picks and Pans Review: Armed and Dangerous

updated 09/01/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/01/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Calling all cars: Be on the lookout for an overweight, underappreciated comedian in search of a vehicle. Although he's one of the funniest performers around, John Candy has had a floundering career in films. Since he isn't leading-man material like Tom Hanks or a consistent caricature like the late John Belushi, Hollywood has never gotten a handle on him (except as the second banana in Splash and Volunteers). Admittedly, he's not the easiest comic to market. There's something fundamentally frightening and mean-spirited about him (which would have made Candy ideal in Danny DeVito's role in Ruthless People). In this makeshift comedy about a security guard on the loose in L.A., Candy is merchandised as a one-man Police Academy. But once again he's plying situations, not playing a character. Even his former SCTV pal Eugene Levy, who has also suffered from movie miscasting, fares better. As a lawyer moonlighting among misfit guards, Levy has tunneled his frustrated dope shtik into a workable role. There is, however, an unexpected pleasure: Meg Ryan, an up-and-comer who is also in Top Gun as Anthony Edwards' ditsy wife. She plays the daughter of a crooked businessman, and the movie suddenly acquires a heart whenever she appears. Giddy but guileless, Ryan displays a disarming vulnerability. It may only be petty larceny to steal a clinker like this, but Ryan makes it something more than a moving violation. (PG-13)

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