Picks and Pans Review: A Making Mr. Right

updated 04/27/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/27/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Hmmmmmm. Maybe it was Madonna who made Desperately Seeking Susan what it was after all. Certainly this follow-up by Susan director Susan Seidelman shows an astonishing absence of charm and style. Ostensibly a comedy about a Florida woman, performance artist Ann Magnuson, who falls in love with an android, the movie is a brainless, heartless, gutless travesty. The humor is insipid, establishing only that penis jokes can be as tedious and puerile as breast jokes. The romance—this is a woman who gets passionate about a machine, remember—is pathetic. And while there is obviously rich opportunity for satire in a role-reversal film that makes fun of male sexism, Seidelman and her screenwriters, Floyd Byars and Laurie Frank, take only the cheap shots. They cower whenever a tough issue appears. This is the movie equivalent of kids dumping a pile of garbage on someone's front porch in the middle of the night and then running like mad. Seidelman and company don't even follow up on their own ideas. When, for instance, the android, John (The Killing Fields) Malkovich, gets loose in human society for the first time, he encounters a child, which should provide all kinds of comic potential. The opportunity is totally ignored. Malkovich portrays the android as a toddling, wide-eyed scamp, as if he had gotten his ideas by watching Bedtime for Bonzo and episodes of Leave It to Beaver. Magnuson, who plays a public relations whiz breaking up with her Congressman boyfriend, employs a tone of embittered resignation that this sour film hardly needs. But then she is feeling glum at having been saddled with the movie's main burden: making a case that women would be better off rid of men. Now there may be some merit in this. It would save us from having to deal with another Attila the Hun, G. Gordon Liddy or Sylvester Stallone. The point would have to be argued with considerably more intelligence and wit than it is here, though. When the reverse idea—using androids to replace women—was suggested in The Stepford Wives in 1975, the film was widely decried as a stupid, sexist waste of everyone's time. Ditto. (PG-13)

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