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‘Call Me’

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
May 24, 1988

 


Director:
Sollace Mitchell
Cast:
Patricia Charbonneau;
Patti D'Arbanville;
Sam Freed;
Boyd Gaines;
Stephen McHattie;
Steve Buscemi
R
Under 17 restricted


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Anna, the principal character in the film "Call Me," is a very dim bulb. One day, after her shower, she receives a call from a man she believes to be her boyfriend Bill (Boyd Gaines), instructing her to meet him at a local bar. And, oh, he says, don't wear panties.

Now this doesn't exactly sound like Bill, who, it seems, is far from being a sexual tiger, but Anna, who is played by Patricia Charbonneau, is a compliant individual. Easy to get along with. Like a doormat.

Once she arrives at the bar she determines that the call has come not from her boyfriend, but from ... someone else. Once this info is absorbed, she flees to the ladies' room, where, in the next stall, a crooked cop murders a man (dressed as a woman) who's supposed to hand over his monthly payoff.

Obviously, the woman is not having a great day. But when she recounts the events to Bill she acts as if she's broken a nail. And Bill looks as if he's about to doze off. In addition, when the caller rings up again, she talks to him as if he has taken her to a boring party.

The real shocker is that she talks to him at all. Not only does she talk to him, she talks to him a lot. And eventually ends up sleeping with him!

"Call Me," which is set in New York and features a lot of chic downtown locations, was directed by Sollace Mitchell, and it's all too preposterous for words. Charbonneau, who generated some real heat in "Desert Hearts," appears to be just going through the motions. And it's hard to blame her. There is one scene, featuring an orange, that will likely generate some conversation, but it sounds more provocative than it really is. The only figure we're the least bit drawn to is Stephen McHattie's Jellybean, Anna's gaunt-cheeked pursuer, but that simply because McHattie gives off such a peculiar energy. And, for a while, I liked Boyd Gaines as Bill. He seems to have the right attitude toward all this. He just couldn't be bothered.

Call Me, at the Circle Dupont and Cineplex Odeon Wisconsin Avenue, is rated R and contains violence, nudity and a lot of suggestive dialogue.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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