Picks and Pans Review: Blankman

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

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

Damon Wayans, David Alan Grier, Robin Givens, Jon Polito, Jason Alexander

The most telling moment in this alleged comedy comes when a crowd of fans is cheering on Wayans, a nerdy inventor who dons a ratty pair of long Johns and acts like a comic superhero. The extras making up the crowd are so deenergized that they make their chant of "Blankman, Blankman, Blankman" sound more like a dirge than a chorus of acclaim.

The whole film is riddled with such lack of commitment. Executive producer-cowriter-star Wayans and director Mike Binder can't seem to decide whether they're making a comedy with action digressions or an action film with comedy highlights, creating a film that is both unfunny and unexciting. Binder has so little control that he even lets Givens break out laughing while she is being held captive by a murderous gangster, Polito.

Givens, playing a TV news anchor who develops a Lois Lane relationship with Wayans, is otherwise the most consistent player in the movie, maintaining a winning playfulness even as Wayans and Grier, who plays Wayans's dull brother, get bogged down in the superhero corner of the plot. Meanwhile, Alexander, as the surly, wheelchair-bound producer of a newsmagazine show called Hard Edition, turns in a hyper-intense and overserious performance.

Anyone who has seen the trailer for Blankman has seen everything funny about it. (PG-13)

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