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I know I'll probably get voted biggest party pooper of the summer for saying this, but no matter what die-hard comic book fans tell you about Dick Tracy, if you haven't gone to see the much ballyhooed flick yet, save your $7 for something else. Spending your hard earned summer cash on this movie just isn't worth it.
Starring and directed by Warren Beatty
At the Harvard Square Cinema
Not only does it not meet Siskel and Eibert's "Best movie of the summer!" proclamation, it doesn't even come close.
Madonnas's sizzle and playfully challenging banter may get a rise out of you, but 53-year-old Beatty couldn't get you to roll over. The acting is mediocre, the plot lacking and, worst of all, you never really come to feel anything for the characters, whose personalities have more life on a piece of paper than they do on the screen.
Sure, the cinematography is terrific--the gansters' orange and green zoot suits, the red and cobolt street buildings and the fancy hot pink automobiles are wild with imagination and nostalgia. The illustrated scenery is wonderful.
But pretty colors do not a good movie make. What's unfortunate is that Tracy's slick banana trench and Madonna's sexy black dresses, no matter how striking or flashy, just don't make up for their characters' lack of excitement.
Beatty looked good, but his rendition of Tracy was too boring for anyone to care. The film tried to paint him as a tough cop who doesn't play by the rules. He's supposed to be a "nothing-can-phase-him" kind of guy--he's bribed, he's tempted (Madonna brushes against him half-naked on all fours, asking for his affection), and he's kicked around--but still our leading man does not flinch or give in to avarice or lust. No. Tracy resists.
Granted, this role must have been a difficult one for Beatty--a millionare who reportedly has slept with many of Hollywood's most famous women. He must have really had to act play the role of the modest hero. The sheer difficulty of Beatty's trying to fill those shoes probably explains why he fell so flat trying to do so.
Meanwhile, Madonna has some great lines ("Aren't you gonna frisk me?") and sports more than one outrageously sultry outfit (if you think the front of some of those dresses are something, wait til you see the backs of them!). But in the end, she, too, is disappointing, mainly because she plays a loser.
Breathless Mahoney spends the entire two hours of the film getting her ass slapped, her face slapped and her sultry kisses pushed aside by the ice man, Dick Tracy. She spends the rest of her air-time stupidly singing the backdrop to this music video of a movie.
Unfortunately, she is not the saucy bitch or the scheming temptress we would like her to be. Instead, she turns out to be a snivelling floosie who, no matter what she wears, can't get Tracy to want her.
Al Pacino as bad boy Big Boy probably delivers the best acting job of the movie--his maniacal thirst for power leads him to kill off all the competition in town. But while the humorous lines he throws around make for good comic relief, his character is still boring and one-dimentional. He's just your common table-banging mobster, who gets foiled in the end.
Even Dustin Hoffman, as Mumbles, the know-it-all mob connection man whose words run together indisting uishably, does nothing exciting--he just gives us a reprise of his Rainman act, only with a different good-looking leading man. And a little more makeup.
Call me no fun, call me a hater of comic lore. But I'm neither. Honestly, I would have loved to see a film done with all of the simple plots we all know and love so well--hero chases bad guy, puts him behind bars and then vows eternal love to his sweetheart--but the problem with Tracy is that it left a boring plot boring.
The audience never feels for the characters in Dick Tracy The love story is anything but intriguing, and all that leaves are the greusome faces of the villains, which have little to offer but their creative ugliness.
This $30 million endeavor of Beatty's certainly won't bring in as much as Batman did last summer. At least I would hope not. This time, it may be Beatty who is foiled again.
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