Picks and Pans Review: Radioland Murders

updated 11/07/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Mary Stuart Masterson, Brian Benben

There is a very talented pig (it oinks out a tune) in Radioland Murders. One hopes the porker's agent has a darned good explanation for why he permitted his client to appear in this bottom-of-the-trough comedy-mystery.

The year is 1939, and Chicago radio station WBN is poised to make its nationwide debut. The studio audience is settling in its seats, the orchestra has tuned up, the announcer (Corbin Bernsen) is about to be cued, and everything is chaos. The writers, who haven't been paid in weeks, are planning a mutiny. The dumbbell director can't keep his head, or his toupee, on straight. Station owner Ned Beatty is dumping the whole mess in the lap of his plucky capable assistant Masterson—who has her own troubles. She's divorcing her head-writer husband (Benben) because of his supposed fling with WBN's resident femme fatale (the late Anita Morris in her final role). And just as things are starting to get utterly out of control, a mysterious voice interrupts the proceedings, setting the scene for one, two, six murders.

The filmmakers seem under the impression that frantic is a synonym for funny. It isn't. (PG)

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