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‘Bird on a Wire’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 18, 1990


John Badham
Mel Gibson;
Goldie Hawn;
David Carradine;
Bill Duke;
Joan Severance
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent

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The Names: Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. The Movie: "Bird on a Wire."

The Reason: Information currently unavailable.

The Director: John Badham, maker of "Saturday Night Fever," "Short Circuit," "Blue Thunder," "WarGames," "Stakeout."

The Formulas: Screwball romance, action picture.

The Situation: Accidental reunion between former flames Mel & Goldie at gas station, 15 years after Mel's supposed demise in a plane crash in Mexico.

Explanation: Mel hiding under Federal Witness Protection Program for testifying against drug dealer David Carradine, now in slammer.

The Complication: Carradine now out of slammer. Carradine mad as hell at Mel and not too happy that "Kung Fu" TV show over.

Drug Dealers/Mobsters/Weapons Merchants/Psychopathic Killers/Treacherous Cops/Treacherous G-Men Roster: Carradine, Bill Duke, Stephen Tobolowsky.

Token Black Villain Category: Duke.

Token Black Cop Category: Blu Mankuma.

High-Jinks Factor: Extremely high. Action scenes on multistory hotel girder; car chase with Mel's legs dangling out of car; car chase with Goldie's legs dangling out of car; car chase into train tunnel; motorbike chase through narrow alleys full of fruit, vegetable and clothing stands; dogfight between helicopter and crop duster; climactic shootout in rain-forest exhibit at zoo.

Stuntperson Count: 17.

Star Chemistry/Box-Office Formula: Mel x Goldie = Cute . Rough-and-ready Mel in jeans, prim and prissy Goldie in cashmere. Mel on the lam. Goldie on the Gold Card.

Running Gags: Mel's derriere. Mel's "Uncle Wiggly."

Mel's Most Frequent Word: "Fun."

Goldie's Most Frequent Word: "Aaaaaah!"

Mel's Special Skills: Australian-American accent, smiling, undressing, grimacing and wincing at bullet wounds, winky one-liners, practical jokes.

Goldie's Special Skills: Fainting cross-eyed, eye-batting, tremulous screaming, crying, sinking upper teeth into lower lip during tender/sexual closeups.

Final Analysis: Summer movie.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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