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By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 04, 1995


Greg Beeman
Daniel Stern;
Jon Polito;
Brad Sullivan;
Ann Dowd;
Anthony Heald
comic depictions of child endangerment

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With a little effort from viewers—trusses are recommended—Daniel Stern's dumb comedy, "Bushwhacked," might bring on a smile. But don't expect anything so grand as a chuckle.

Stern, the star and executive producer of this camping-on-the-lam caper, portrays Max Grabelski, a dimwitted delivery guy who high-tails it when he is framed for murder. With the FBI and the bad guys hot on his trail, Max happens upon a troop of Ranger Scouts. The six rambunctious youngsters—one roly-poly, one nearsighted, one timid, etc.—mistake Max for the veteran scoutmaster who has volunteered to guide their overnight hike into the woods.

Though he doesn't know a beehive from a pine cone, Max realizes that playing Papa Bear to the cubs is the perfect cover. The children, delirious at the prospect of testing their survival skills, initially overlook Max's unusual hiking garb (a leather jacket and Italian loafers) and his appalling lack of wilderness savvy.

By the time they realize that Max is a phony with the brains of a tent stake, they are forced to work together to overcome the rickety rope bridges, white-water rapids and steep rock cliffs that stand between them and their goal. At the end of the madcap adventure, each child has overcome a personal weakness to attain self-esteem.

Packed with pint-size action sequences, "Bushwhacked" is intended as a kiddie sendup of "Cliffhanger." And though some of the scenes parody those in that Stallone thriller, there's nothing sly about this laborious comic adventure.

Bushwhacked is rated PG-13 for comic depictions of child endangerment.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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