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Tucson Weekly Film Clips

JUNE 22, 1998: 

DIRTY WORK. Norm Macdonald has the sort of face and attitude that's funny even if he just stands there doing nothing. Unfortunately, in Dirty Work Macdonald runs around spewing stillborn half-jokes and pulling unimaginative revenge schemes on stereotypical villains. Big dogs hump big dogs, skunks hump little dogs, Macdonald gets ass-raped in jail, the highly obnoxious Artie Lange (Mad TV) and highly dead Chris Farley try to squeeze laughs out of their corpulence, Gary Coleman and Adam Sandler appear for so-over-the-top-they're-under-the-bottom cameos, Chevy Chase and Don Rickles do what they always do, tiredly--and none of it is funny. Then again, if you willingly go to a movie directed by Bob Saget (of America's Stupidest Home Videos fame), you have no one to blame but yourself. --Woodruff

MULAN. Disney storytelling is catching up to the 21st century, slowly but surely, by reaching ever farther into the past (about the 5th century, in this case). Mulan recounts the mythical Chinese tale of a daughter who disguises herself as a boy in order to take her aged and ailing father's place in the emperor's army. The crisis is that the Huns have crossed the Great Wall of China, with plans of deposing the emperor; and in the Disney version, a band of ragamuffin peasants, lead by a handsome young captain (singing voice provided by Donny Osmond) and the heroine Fa-Mulan, are China's last hope. Say what you will about the Disney empire, the animation here is so arresting at times--from the magic of watercolor strokes on the film's opening credits, to the breathtaking vistas of torches bursting into flame all along the Great Wall, and the Hun army descending a snowy cornice of the Himalayas--you may be inclined to forgive all sins, such as the corny contemporary soundtrack, and the regrettably undignified ending. Eddie Murphy is a kick as the demoted spirit-dragon Mushu; and The Single Guy's Ming-Na Wen offers some much-needed spine to the first Disney character we know of to suggest the girl worth fighting for might be "a girl who always speaks her mind." This is the summer action flick for the wee ones. --Wadsworth

POST COITUM. Ah, no one makes love stories like the French! Director Brigitte Roüan also stars in this sexy, bittersweet story about the love affair between an older woman and a younger man. Borris Terral plays the extremely hunky Emilio, an idealistic youth who begins a passionate affair with the married Diane. Emilio is a shameless romantic, shining all his charm on his successful lover, who promptly jeopardizes her family and her job to better fling herself into the affair. But just when Diane starts to really like Emilio, he dumps her with no explanation. The grieving scenes begin to become a bit elaborate, but Roüan has a light touch that helps keep things from getting too heavy-handed. Ever notice how much hotter the love scenes are when a woman is directing? --Richter

SHOOTING FISH. A cute caper comedy from Britain, Shooting Fish piles on the winks and smiles and skimps on anything you might actually feel in your gut. Dan Futterman and Stuart Townsend play twentysomething orphans who keep pulling off quick scams so they can save up to buy a mansion. Kate Beckinsale's pixie hair and perfect teeth star as the guys' perky love interest. Will Kate fall for the fast-talking, ever-smirking playboy, or the shy, socially awkward technical wizard? The movie hardly pauses for an answer, whisking our protagonists off for still more mini-adventures. For all its mobility, though, Shooting Fish never really catches you off guard, and gets about as sexy as a science fair. It would make a nice double feature with Cold Comfort Farm. Emphasis on the word "nice."

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