Picks and Pans Review: Color of Night

updated 09/05/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/05/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bruce Willis, Jane March

Hollywood has never been particularly kind to therapists, portraying them as diabolical, manipulative, unethical, or in the case of the bone-headed thriller Color of Night, just plain dense. Willis (in a serviceable performance) is an earnest Manhattan psychologist who suffers searing guilt when, during a session, a patient commits suicide. In a pointless Hitchcockian twist, the shock renders Willis unable to distinguish colors and sends him to L.A. for rest and reassurance from his best friend, fellow therapist Scott Bakula. But Bakula has his own troubles: He has been receiving death threats and suspects one of his group-therapy patients is responsible. There's good reason to be edgy, as Bakula soon learns, and Willis takes over the group to get to the bottom of the matter. Ennui ensues as he does a round of house calls to probe his new patients' psyches. But the doc isn't all work. He has just begun a passionate affair with the toothy, toothsome March, whom he met cute: she rear-ended his car. Just as the clouds seem to be lifting from Willis's life, he too starts getting death threats. Color of Night is shot stylishly but effortfully; someone is trying awfully hard to distract audiences from the fact that the busy murder plot is under-structured and obscure. March demonstrates in Color what she did in 1992's The Lover—that as an actress she has a terrific body. In one equal-opportunity sequence Willis bares his tush. It neither furthers the plot nor enhances his image. (R)

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