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'Leonard Part 6' (PG)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 19, 1987

The only good thing about Bill Cosby's "Leonard Part 6" is that we didn't have to see Parts 1 through 5.

This stupid spy spoof concerns an evil vegetarian's attempt to take over the world. But it is in truth a coup by Coke, whose products appear conspicuously throughout. The soft drink dynasty aims to rot your brains as well as your teeth by releasing such sediment via its subsidiary Columbia Pictures.

Not that Cosby -- pudding pop salesman and reigning TV dad -- is so innocent, despite having panned his own movie. He is after all the producer, the star and the man who thought up the story.

In "Leonard 6," Cosby's living-room charisma proves too comfy for the big screen. Basically he's just Dr. Huxtable as a retired master spy who pines for his estranged wife while saving the world from Medusa, a plant eater with a Napoleonic complex. The unfortunate Gloria Foster plays this faintly ferocious herbivore, snarfing bananas and ordering studly minions about her war room. These pumped-up goons are the only real beef in her diet.

Medusa turns animals into allies, manipulating their brains with dishwashing liquid and sending them off to wreak havoc on the CIA. Leonard, with the help of his English butler (the unfortunate Tom Courtenay), thwarts her plans. Not only is this movie subliterate, it's sub-Smurf.

Cosby looks woebegone all movie long. He knows he's out of his element, a comedian of words in a physical role. He's graceless as he skulks about the slapstick landscape, lobbing hotdogs at the meanie vegetarians. You know things are bad when you can't get a laugh with a wiener.

The script was written by Jonathan Reynolds, who worked closely with Cosby. Director Paul Weiland, heretofore a director of 60-second commercials, is making his feature breakthrough. It plays like 90 one-minute TV spots.

Copyright The Washington Post

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