Picks and Pans Review: Stealing Home

updated 09/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

So far Jodie Foster has a lock on this year's award for best performance by an actress in a howling dog of a movie. Foster, in the great tradition of film weepers, gets to play dead. She's bye-bye from the start, so that in the 1958 and 1964 flashbacks when she's being funny, brave and sexy, we can get that aw-shucks-ain't-it-a-shame feeling. Foster's a suicide, much more dramatic than Ali MacGraw's fatal illness in Love Story. At 22, she is also the older woman, making love to a boy of 16 (William McNamara). Shades of Summer of '42. The film's writer-director team, Steven Kampmann and Will Aldis, obviously think Polonius' warning against borrowing applies only to melancholy Danes. Anyway, Jodie is gone, and she has bequeathed the task of what to do with her ashes to Mark Harmon, a broken-down ex-ballplayer and the grown-up version of the kid she took to the sack at 16. Blair Brown is too young to play Harmon's mother, but she does so in both past and present sequences, and quite gracefully to boot. Jonathan Silverman plays Harmon's teen buddy who matures into Harold Ramis. Neither has any reason to be in the picture except for comic relief, which is of the juvenile Porky's variety. The feeble plot centers on Harmon's finding himself by finding a place to put Foster's ashes. I am not kidding. Neither are the filmmakers. They expect audiences to swallow this sentimental swill. Some gulp. (PG-13)

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