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‘My Blue Heaven’ (PG-13)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 18, 1990

"My Blue Heaven" puts you in a stupor comparable to the one that comes on after Thanksgiving turkey. Written by Nora Ephron, it makes you long for the awful "Heartburn."

Steve Martin, Rick Moranis and Joan Cusack costar as a Mafia informant, an uptight FBI agent and the district attorney who comes between them. Yet another buddy movie, it throws this disparate trio together, teaching them to appreciate and appropriate one another's good qualities. Cusack, who looks as upholstered as a sofa, wants to lock up Martin and play nuzzly-wuzzly woo-woo with Moranis.

Martin, absurdly cast as this suave big-city salami, desperately tries and desperately fails to find anything funny in the urbanite's move to the San Diego suburbs. To save his own skin, he has agreed to turn state's evidence and is relocated to Fryburg, Calif. Moranis, a verveless G-man, is assigned to protect him until after the trial.

A fusty divorcee and mother of two Little Leaguers, Cusack loses her inhibitions and gives up her relentless pursuit of justice after just one merengue with the mite Moranis. Now when this happened to Ellen Barkin's lawyer in "The Big Easy," we were trading up -- the law for Dennis Quaid. But Peanut Boy? Preposterous!

The on-screen chemistry between Moranis and Martin is sexier, especially when Martin grabs a handful of the mite's rump while they too dance the merengue. Luckily there are several dance scenes that click. Perhaps that is because "My Blue Heaven" reunites Martin and Herbert Ross, who earlier directed him in the cult musical "Pennies From Heaven." In this case, Heaven can wait.

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