Picks and Pans Review: The Perez Family

updated 05/15/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/15/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Marisa Tomei, Anjelica Huston

Some notes for those keeping track of the 30-year-old Tomei's development as an actress:

1. Accents aren't a strong point. Playing a party-loving Cuban boat-lifted to Miami in 1980, she sounds uncomfortably close to Charo. "I am like Cooba," proclaims Tomei. "Used by many, conquered by no one!"

2. In rare moments of repose, Tomei's face can be sad, winsome and touching. Maybe someday she will stop being cast as a vivacious cupcake. Meanwhile, the icing is getting stale.

There isn't much else to say about the other refugees from Castro in this little comedy-drama. Huston, who has settled into suburban matronhood while waiting two decades for her husband (Alfred Molina) to be released from prison, seems tentative, recessive, maybe a little dull. She is best when a role provides some edge, some venom, some boldness. This one doesn't. Molina gives the one solid performance. Finally reaching freedom, he scowls accusingly through an unkempt beard and unhappy dark eyes, like a roving religious icon. (R)

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