2016/09/30

Palatable: Illegally Yours

Illegally Yours (1988)
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich
Written by Max Dickens, Michael Kaplan
Produced by Peter Bogdanovich, George Morfogen, Steve Foley, William Pfeiffer, Peggy Robertson
Starring Rob Lowe, Colleen Camp, Kim Myers, Louise Stratten, Ira Heiden, Marshall Colt, Linda MacEwen, Harry Carey Jr., Jessica James, Kenneth Mars, Howard Hirdler, Tony Longo
For whoever can countenance Dante Spinotti's unexplainably shoddy photography, a few tackily tiresome tunes composed for Johnny Cash by Bogdanovich and Cash's perennial collaborator Earl Poole Ball, and hastily yattered, wholly superfluous narration, this slight yet feisty farce sports a stack of amusive antics, despite its representation of the embattled cineaste's return to his professional doldrums after the unqualified success of Mask. A surprisingly comic Lowe stumbles, stammers, goggles and flails through a rash of cockamamie contretemps as an ungainly, lovelorn juror in the trial of his juvenile crush, a belligerently dyspeptic peripatetic saleswoman (Camp) of cable television services wrongly arraigned for the murder of a millionaire's aide, and unwittingly in possession of an audiocassette containing exculpatory evidence coveted by her loquacious sometime swain (Colt), his lover and the wife (MacEwen) of the victim's wealthy employer (Mars) who accidentally committed the crime, and a pair of inefficient hitmen (Hirdler, Longo) contracted to terminate the deceased, all of whom are in turn mysteriously surveilled by a gawking, venturous collegial duo (Myers, Stratten). Notwithstanding its many flaws, this crime comedy's salvaged by practiced players, a pace as brisk as the multitude of car chases that punctuate its dense and involving assorted plots, and possibly the best pratfall executed for a major motion picture in the past thirty years. Likely flummoxed by its bewildering voice-over, audiences eschewed this slightly underrated travesty all but disavowed by Bogdanovich himself, but its interesting narrative convolutions and vigorous hilarity justify a modicum of reserved reappraisal.
Recommended for a double feature paired with Big Trouble.

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