Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sunburn (1979)

          There isn’t much to enjoy about a comedy-romance caper flick that’s neither amusing nor seductive, so even though Sunburn offers some kitschy distractions, the picture is so bland and uninvolving that it feels much longer than its actual 99-minute running time.
          The premise is fine, because Sunburn is about an insurance investigator who travels to Acapulco in order to sniff out possible fraud related to a multimillion-dollar policy; he recruits an actress/model to pose as his wife, and they fall for each other while exposing the bad guys. Where it all goes wrong is in the casting and execution. The leading man is Charles Grodin, a comic actor whose style is so bone-dry that if he doesn’t have a great scene partner, he’s left flailing; seeing him slide dialogue toward an unresponsive costar is like watching someone lob tennis balls at a mannequin. The leading lady, and unfortunately the picture’s biggest impediment, is ’70s sex goddess Farrah Fawcett-Majors, at the apex of her sun-kissed prettiness. Although Fawcett looks lovely in a series of revealing gowns and swimsuits, she’s so vapid one actually starts to forget her presence while she’s still onscreen: After the initial impact of her dazzling smile wears off, there’s simply nothing about her to sustain interest.
          To cut the actors some slack, they’re not helped by an inept screenplay that wastes all the potential of the premise, bombarding the audience with stupid attempts at bedroom farce and high-stakes action. The bedroom farce comes courtesy of a boozy nympho (played by Joan Collins in an epically awful performance), and the high-stakes action features trite gimmicks like a car chase and an underwater assault on a scuba diver. In the most painfully stupid sequence, Fawcett-Majors and Grodin drive a car into a bullring, leading to an unfunny fight between an automobile and a steer. All of this nonsense is scored with gruesomely bad disco music, complete with a cringe-inducing theme song by Graham Gouldman, of 10cc fame, who should have known better. Poor Art Carney, quickly descending from the heights of his amazing ’70s revival, does his usual professional work as Grodin’s sidekick, and his scenes are among the movie’s only redeeming values.

Sunburn: LAME

1 comment:

Cindylover1969 said...

If only a law could be passed forbidding film company heads from getting in on the creative side like Hemdale's John Daly here...