A lot of movies begin well and then fall apart. Kuffs, a quirky little cops-and-robbers film directed by first-timer Bruce A. Evans from a script he cowrote with Raynold Gideon, starts dumb and then manages to pick up charm and sympathy as it progresses. Slater, the Jack Nicholson sound-alike for the younger set, plays George Kuffs, a screwup who inherits his brother's private security force in San Francisco when his brother is murdered. "I never saw myself as a cop. I'm more like the bad guys," Kuffs says. A hero in an antihero's leather jacket, he soon sides with the law, avenges his brother and even reconciles with the girlfriend (Milla Jovovich, in a nothing part) he had jilted when she became pregnant.
The plot may follow predictable lines, but the film's offbeat script ("Love and kisses on all your pink parts," Kuffs proposes writing on the card when sending flowers to his estranged girlfriend) and Slater's wiseacre geniality make this one a winner, albeit on a small scale.
Also worth noting: The deft comic performance by Tony (Ghost) Goldwyn as a doofus cop on probation from the force for having slept with the wife of the police chief. (PG-13)