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'The Bedroom Window' (R)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
January 16, 1987

Isabelle Huppert and generic Steve Guttenberg prove incompatible costars in "The Bedroom Window," a cockamamie mystery that finds these bi-continentals drawn together like, say, refrigerator magnets to styrofoam coolers. Yes, it's magic.

The lovers are supposed to be absolutely crazy about each other, sick with lust even, but you'll see more convincing romance from runners-up on "Star Search." Guttenberg's merely more blah than usual; Huppert, in her first English-speaking role, seems to be translating as she goes.

But then neither has ever worked with writer-director Curtis Hanson before. Hanson, whose previous directing credits include such immortals as "The Arousers" and "Losin' It," has no business at the helm. His copycat pacing is as wrong-headed as his care and feeding of actors, an area in which he seems to favor starvation.

Hanson's screenplay, however, isn't half bad. It's about a Baltimorean (Guttenberg) who pretends to witness a crime to conceal his affair with his boss's wife (Huppert), and then becomes a suspect in the case himself.

Cherubic Elizabeth McGovern as the victim teams with Guttenberg to trap the real rapist, who gets off scot-free on one of those pesky technicalities. To bait the psycho killer, McGovern disguises herself as a floozy and slithers off to a working man's bar on the wrong side of Baltimore. She looks like a cross between a female impersonator and Alvin the Chipmunk as she wiggles on her bar stool.

She makes an utter fool of herself. Where was Hanson, for instance, when she licked her forefinger and caressed the tip of the pool cue? Even Carl Lumbly as a detective -- the same Carl Lumbly who plays a detective on "Cagney & Lacey" every week -- doesn't come off convincingly here.

Of course, we have to suffer through more romance when McGovern recovers her libidinal urges in the company of the scintillating, hopelessly attractive, Nautilus-improved Guttenberg. And they make Huppert and Guttenberg look like "Caligula." THE BEDROOM WINDOW (R) --

At area theaters.

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