SCAVENGER HUNT -- Capri, Hampton Mall 2, K-B Studio 3, Reston Cinema 2, Roth's Randolph 2, State, Towne Centre 2.
It's a bad sign when the most memorable characters in a movie are the props. But that's only the first clue that "Scavenger Hunt" is about a funny as searching for a contact lens at a lawn party.
The second clue is when Richard Benjamin, whose dubious best feature is that he drive a Cadillac convertible, tries to bite into a rubber apple. Ha, ha, ha -- suave Richard sidles away from the fruit bowl, clears his throat and the plot proceeds.
The scavenger hunt in question is just that: A list of objects that the 15 potential heirs to a late toy manufacturer's fortune must try to collect in a day. The heir or heirs who find the most items will win the entire $200 million fortune this perverse gentlemen, named Milton Parker, has left to posterity.
That, by the way, was your third clue as to the inanity of this exercise in avarice.
The teams that form include the late weirdo's bumbling son-in-law (Tony Reandall) and his four bickering kids: his shrewish sister (Cloris Leachman) and her son, a mama's boy who deserves a good kick in the pants; the servants, including the requisite saucy French maid (actually well played by Stephanie Faracy); a chicken-witted cab driver; and two nephews and a step-niece, who are the good-looking and appealing young people we're obviously supposed to root for.
Oh yes, and the rubber-apple eater, Richard Benjamin, whom Cloris Leachman drags along because she needs a ride. Good thing he has his convertible handy.
They must look for -- and now we're coming to the real exciting part -- such items as an ostrich, a toilet and a obese person. Isn't it funny that the zoo's four ostriches, lovingly tended by a keeper who will enrage the stutterers' Anti-Defamation League, all disappear and then reappear at Milton Parker's estate?Or that the servants mince through the lobby of an expensive hotel carrying a commode?
Although not especially designed as a children's film, the self-conscious attempts at being madcap will appeal to the kiddies, judging from whose mouths the laughter was coming at a recent showing. No bad words, no sex scenes and, to the film's credit, good does triumph over evil.
That is, keeping in mind that what we have here is 15 adults sheeding all pretense of dignity for the almighy dollar.