JANAURY MAN (1989)
Kline, Susan Sarandon, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Harvey
Keitel, Danny Aiello, Rod Steiger, Alan Rickman
Cook, Norman Jewsion, Ezra Swerdlow
As New York counts down the final seconds of the year, a serial
killer murders the best friend of the Mayor's daughter (Mary Elizabeth
Mastrantonio). At a loss to the identity of the killer, the mayor
tells The Police Commissioner (Harvey Keitel) to reinstate his
super-sleuth brother, Nick (Kevin Kline), to find the killer.
Without a qualm, Nick gives up a promising career as a fireman
and ropes in the mayor's daughter and his next-door neighbor (Alan
Rickman) to find this dastardly killer.
Trouble was brewing when the copy on the video cover didn't match
the film. "Now it is almost January and Nick Starky... has
been expelled from the force." With the ball descending in
Times Square and the final 10 seconds of the year being counted
down in the opening sequence, it is frighteningly close to January!
Then the copy continues to say, "The January Man - a black
comedy set against the murder and corruption of fearsome Los Angeles..."To
the best of my knowledge, Los Angeles isn't an elongated island
with a lot of brownstone buildings. Thus the scene is set for
the rest of the movie...
The film starts
off on a strong foot, but one gets the impression that as the
film unfolds, even the actors knew they weren't going to win in
this one. It obviously flounders between whether it should be
a comedy or crime thriller. It looses on both accounts with the
film unfolding like a cheesy cops and robbers script written by
an enthusiastic teenager, with every single cliché from
Casablanca to Hudson Hawke. The film is not assisted by unenthusiastic
and stilted deliveries by most of the cast.
At best, Kevin
Kline can be said to give an outstanding rendition of a really,
really bad Humphrey Bogart. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Susan
Sarandon obvious acting abilities are just wasted in this film,
even though they try to deliver their cliched lines with some
life. I don't know if Danny Aiello is genuinely bad in this film
or just appalled at the way his character develops into the hackneyed
'tough cop with a soft heart.' Alan Rickman's debut scene in the
film is a delicious piece of irony, but unfortunately, it is the
only highlight in the film. By the end of the film, one hopes
he was wincing every time he delivers one cheesy line after another,
each one getting sinking more and more into the dreadful hell
of 'lines best forgotten.' Actually, maybe all the cast were wincing
which would account for the emotionless deliveries...
is best watched when you don't particularly feel like thinking
and just seeking mindless entertainment and mild action. If you
are in any other frame of mind, you will only be disappointed.