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    Off Beat

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 88 mins . PG . PAL


    ĎBungling reality.í

    Thatís a term I just invented to cover this sort of film. It exists in a world where drug dealers donít carry weapons and police never swear. Where bumbling fools manage to save the day and are rewarded for their heroism, even though they are incompetent morons. Where criminals are easily disarmed through their foolishness and lack of simple violence. There is no war, no disease and no aggressive partners in this world and everyone is either a dedicated professional, a smelly hobo everyoneís keen to share an ironic reflection on life with, or a struggling idiot trying to become one or the other.

    Itís a strange world.

    And itís Hollywood.

    This five star horror features Judge Reinhold getting his hands on a juicy, juicy role as a nerdish and weak-willed library clerk. His girlfriend dumps him the same day he accidentally ruins his policeman friendís undercover drug bust. To pay back his friend, he must turn up at an audition for a police charity and perform in a dance routine. He meets a sassy lady cop (Meg Tilly) and an instant attraction sees them become closer, while her ex-partner attempts to keep them apart.

    "Make him stop dancing! I hate that!"

    Meanwhile, he must maintain the belief that he is a policeman much to the consternation of the police friend he is impersonating. Sooner or later everyoneís gonna find out he isnít a real cop, but will it be too late and will his new girlfriend think less of him? Will anyone stay to find out?

    This is a bunch of rubbish really. Meg Tilly does her best and Judge Reinhold is just his annoyingly soft-spoken self. God knows how they managed to get Harvey Keitel in as a bumbling bank robber, but even heís annoying. Director Michael Dinner has no doubt created his masterwork here because he doesnít seem to make many movies anymore. Happily.

    I donít recommend this film, not even as a rental. Itís brainless and inept and by the time we are convinced the dancing is crap (five minutes in) weíve already reached for the (bucket) remote.


    For a 1986 film, this does look fairly okay. Delivered in the blisteringly good 4:3 screen ratio there are only really frequent moments of mild grain that limit the picture. Colours are even, flesh tones are okay and blacks are true. Surprisingly the shadow detail is quite clear, but then this is a Buena Vista transfer, so we shouldnít expect any less. There are some minor film artefacts tossed about, but these are sporadic at best (again, surprisingly).


    Ball-tearing Dolby Digital stereo brings us this dross in nice style. Dialogue is clear but very occasionally (okay, once that I saw) the words appear to be re-dubbed into some statement less ruder than what the guy actually would have said. Perhaps trying to stick with the PG rating? I donít know and I donít care.

    Surprisingly, music is by James Horner, who utilises a lot of reggae and tropical beats to give the film its ditzy nature. This works to keep the film frivolous, but isnít anything youíd rush to the store to buy (even if youíre a hardcore fan since Titanic). The main instruments appear to be a Northern Exposure-like accordion and a Jamaican steel drum. Fun, but essentially ordinary.


    Thankfully, not a sausage. Except for the director.


    A generally unfunny (although trying desperately hard with tough cops in í80s leotards and headbands) and worthless film that would do nothing for the career of anyone concerned. Even the cover art is of stuff that isnít in the film. Talk about weak. And itís not even a good caricature composite work of things that occur within the film. Embarrassing and outdated by a good 25 years, even though we arenít yet 25 years away from when it was released.

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      And I quote...
    "This stinks so bad it should be called Off FEET."
    - Jules Faber
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