FILMS

Friends and felonies

Three new movies offer silliness and satire

VICTOR DWYER,DIANE TURBIDE August 3 1992
FILMS

Friends and felonies

Three new movies offer silliness and satire

VICTOR DWYER,DIANE TURBIDE August 3 1992

Friends and felonies

FILMS

Three new movies offer silliness and satire

ANTONIA AND JANE

(Directed by Beeban Kidron)

Recent movies about female friendship (Thelma and Louise, Leaving Normal) have featured women on the road searching for happiness. But in Antonia and Jane, a sly British comedy about a longtime, troubled relationship, the therapist’s office is where two women make a painfully funny journey to their better selves. Saskia Reeves plays Antonia, an attractive, selfish yuppie; Jane (Imelda Staunton) both worships and resents her. Dumpy and forlorn, Jane gets cornered at parties by men who, she says, “lecture me on computer science or hydroponic agriculture.”

The two women are dreading their annual lunch together as their lives unravel. Antonia’s husband is unfaithful, her son alienated and her boss impossible. And Jane, who in the past took up motorcycles and the Russian Orthodox Church with equal zest, is fed up, especially with her boyfriend, Norman, who only becomes sexually aroused if she reads aloud passages of an Iris Murdoch novel. She is also determined to have it out with Antonia, who has patronized her for too long.

Antonia and Jane adroitly mixes social comedy and satire. And the lead actors’ superb performances leave the indelible impression that laughter and pain are lifelong companions.

MO’ MONEY

{Directed by Peter Macdonald)

On the small screen, Damon Wayans has raised eyebrows with his portrayals of Anton the Homeless Man and Blaine, an outrageously effeminate—and very funny—homosexual movie critic on the hit Fox variety show In Living Color. Now, Wayans weighs in with Mo’ Money, his first starring role in a featurelength comedy. The story of a small-time con artist drawn into a world of big-time crime, Mo’ Money lacks the sting, but none of the irreverent spirit, of Wayans’s TV humor.

Johnny Stewart (Wayans) survives by selling boxes of bricks disguised as TV sets to middleclass whites. When an encounter with the police forces him to seek honest employment, he gets a job at a credit card company, where he tries to win the affection of an executive named Amber Evans (Stacey Dash). Hoping to buy her affection, Stewart steals a returned credit card. Things go awry when a crooked security chief, portrayed by a delightfully unctuous John Diehl, discovers the crime and decides to blackmail him. Determined to go straight, Stewart works overtime to outsmart his adversary and, eventually, captures Evans’s heart. Silly and predictable, Mo’ Money still manages to direct some well-aimed barbs at the idiosyncrasies and hypocrisies of mainstream America.

HONEY, I BLEW UP THE KID

Directed by Randal Kleiser

In the 1989 movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, oddball inventor Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) mistakenly zapped his son and daughter with an electromagnetic particle beam, reducing them to the size of insects. Witty and whimsical, the film was a box-office hit. Three years later, the mad scientist is back, this time with a ray gun that expands, rather than contracts, its target. In Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, that target is two-year-old Adam Szalinski, portrayed alternately by cute and cuddly twins Daniel and Joshua Shalikar. But although the new film strains to re-create the magic of its predecessor, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid falls woefully short.

While trying to enlarge one of Adam’s stuffed toys, Szalinski accidently transforms his son into a truly Terrible 2 who subsequently grows several feet whenever he comes near electricity. After encounters with a microwave oven and a TV set, Adam trashes his parents’ living room and several cars in their suburb before heading for the neon strip of Las Vegas. There, disproving the claim of one tourist that “there’s nobody bigger than Wayne Newton in this town,” he continues to wreak havoc before being cut down to size. Trying too hard to produce a laugh a minute, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid ultimately substitutes frenzy and flash for imagination and fun.

VICTOR DWYER and DIANE TURBIDE