Sunday, August 29, 2010


(George Kaczender, 1987)
This looks like one of those movies where the ad campaign came first - just about the only thing wrong with it is its 'concept'. Always big on sex, here Kaczender gets to explore the world of the high-priced call girl, and while the cops are in the foreground, the girls' milieu is presented with detail, sympathy and rage. The context is a serial murder plot, and lead call girl Suzanne Snyder's complicated relationship with stressed-out cop David Birney adds resonance to the procedural stuff. When Birney lapses into Dirty Harry talk it only leads to impotent macho fury, unleashed on a painfully vulnerable black dandy and an unapologetically gay crook. In other words, Sandra K. Smith's script has good things to say and says them well. So why oh why did somebody then have to turn the whole thing into a 'split personality' drama? The conceit does make sense thematically, I'll admit; and as she veers between sweet young sex worker and abusive Daddy, Season Hubley gives the routine everything she's got. But in that process she robs the film of everything it had: this is hackneyed, dramatically disastrous stuff. In the end everyone is so glad to be rid of Hubley that they rush straight out the door with a denouement so self-effacing it might have been furnished by Robert Wise.

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