Picks and Pans Review: The Fan
The Cable Guy, Purple Noon, and now this. That's three buddy movies in a single summer in which one of the guys turns out to be a psycho. If Star Wars were made today, Luke Skywalker would probably clobber Han Solo with an astrobrick.
Here, De Niro is a middle-aged sad-sack in San Francisco, recently fired from his job selling hunting supplies. With nothing to live for, he becomes fixated on Snipes, a center fielder just signed by the Giants for $40 million. Snipes himself is depressed. His lucky number, 11, has been assigned to another player, and he goes into a slump. De Niro, whose sales specialty was sharp, pointy knives, decides to help.
De Niro has done so many psychos that it's hard to tell if he's parodying or simply repeating himself. He snuffles, cricks his neck, sings "Start Me Up" off-key and rattles like a bad carburetor. I think he's swell. And Snipes, a no-fuss actor with great physical presence, makes an excellent foil. Between the two of them, there's enough electricity to jolt the seats in the Cineplex stadium. (R)