Picks and Pans Review: Beverly Hills Cop Iii

updated 06/06/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/06/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Eddie Murphy; Timothy Carhart, John Saxon, Judge Reinhold, Hector Elizondo, Theresa Randle

Beverly Hills Cop III is resoundingly joyless. The latest and least in the movie series about the righteous Detroit cop (Murphy) who keeps chasing cases all the way to Beverly Hills, Cop III is one big yawn and no yucks. Murphy and director John Landis, who previously teamed on the much better Trading Places and the marginally better Coming to America, huff and puff here, but the end result isn't worth the effort.

It certainly can't have been the Baretta-on-a-bad-day script that attracted them with its cardboard villians ("Wax that clown," one of them instructs his gunmen) and its boys-and-their-toys car chases and gunfights. Other than the sight early on of two fatso mechanics lip-synching and boogying to Diana Ross and the Supremes' "Come See About Me" and Bronson Pinchot reprising his Serge role from Cop I, there is not an honest laugh to be had. Murphy mugs instead of acting, and the rest of the cast does the minimum, as if they knew ahead of time there was no chance they would be writing Oscar acceptance speeches for this one.

Sorry to say, but if Murphy doesn't do a decent movie or stretch himself with a truly adult part soon, he is going to find himself as washed up a screen relic as Chevy Chase. The Hollywood powers may continue to pay these two former funny men millions to star in pathetic comedies, but as Chase's recent bomb Cops and Robbersons vividly demonstrates, the customers won't automatically keep coming. (Note for film buffs: It doesn't help the movie, but directors Martha Coolidge, Joe Dante, George Lucas, Peter Medak, Arthur Hiller, Barbet Schroeder and John Singleton all have cameos.) (R)

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