Picks and Pans Review: Blind Date

updated 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

We all scoffed—heck, we even snickered—when Madonna, late of the megabomb Shanghai Surprise, turned down this promising-sounding comedy. The desperately-seeking-a-hit pop star had blown her chance to work with class director Blake (10, Victor/Victoria) Edwards and Moonlighting's red-hot Romeo, Bruce Willis, in his starring screen debut. Well, Madonna, apologies are in order. You get the last laugh, which puts you way up on audiences at this witless exercise in frenzied farce. Our sympathies go to Kim Basinger, who stepped into the title role. Despite her obvious beauty and talent, Basinger's credits read like a road map of movie disaster areas (No Mercy, Mother Lode, 9½ Weeks, The Man Who Loved Women). And she has never struggled more futilely with a role. Playing a setup date for nerdy financial analyst Willis at an important client dinner, Basinger is meant to embody a rather nasty male chauvinist joke. Give this doll a sip of champagne and she's a sexual cannibal. Give her another sip and she's a foul-mouthed harridan, able to wreck a restaurant as easily as her date's reputation. Dale (Ruthless People) Launer's mean-spirited script rarely gives Basinger a chance. When she's not drunk, she's dazed. Willis fares a bit better; you know his innate appeal will survive this drivel. But director Edwards seems determined to bury his stars in an excess of sight gags, car wrecks and brawls. He succeeds. Other fine actors, such as Emmy winners John (Night Court) Larroquette and William (St. Elsewhere) Daniels are also lost in the melee. Edwards' last two films (A Fine Mess, That's Life) indicate that the dazzling stylist behind the Pink Panther films has lost his touch for mixing silliness and sentiment. Let's hope it's just temporary. Meanwhile, renting an Edwards classic at the video store (how about Breakfast At Tiffany's?) will provide the kick his latest movie does not. This Blind Date is a dog. (PG-13)

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