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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RUNNING TIME: 94 min.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical Trailer
“Bringing Up Baby meets 1987… and kicks its ass.“
Madonna (Bloodhounds of Broadway), Griffin Dunne (After Hours), Haviland Morris (Sixteen Candles), Sir John Mills (Hobson’s Choice)
Louden Trott (Dunne) is one day away from a loveless marriage to Wendy Worthington (Morris), his boss’s daughter, when the old man sends him on two special errands: deliver a rare jungle cat to a wealthy client; and escort one Nikki Finn (Madonna), fresh out of prison, to the first bus out of town. Of course it won’t be that easy: Nikki’s one of them Free Spirits, plus she’s the only person who can control the animal, plus she knows things that could get Wendy’s dad put away for good.
Interesting to see the sort of things cinematographer Jan de Bont cut his teeth on before Basic Instinct and Speed. The 16:9 transfer is a little unsteady, and Madonna’s heavy makeup doesn’t always photograph well.
Retro-styled screwball comedies rarely hit the mark. For every Trading Places there are ten Illegally Yourses and this is one of them. I’ll give Madonna credit—she shoots for 1930s brassiness the whole way through while the rest of the movie flounders in an ‘80s no-man’s-land. Director James Foley finds the right tone only once, when Mr. Dunne and Ms. Ciccone deliver the cougar to its new home—an artificial jungle built over a New York penthouse. It’s an image straight out of W.C. Fields or Preston Sturges (or Iowa!), but we don’t stay with it very long. A subplot that spoofs mismatched buddy cops plays quite well, but again there isn’t enough of it.
Got it! Bizarro Betty Boop.