MIDNIGHT MADNESS -- AMC Carrollton 6, Buckingham, Jefferson Roth's Montgomery, Town Center Sterling and White Flint.
Imagine "National Lampoon's Animal House" without the raunch, originality or wit and you have "Midnight Madness," thee latest college-hijinks flick to hit the screens.
This one, a product of Buena Vista Studios, was bankrolled by the Disney people, and it shows. It's got plenty of the basics -- i.e. , kids, cars and beer -- and there's even an ex-Animal, Stephen Furst, in the cast. But the sheer outrageousness that made "Animal House" fun is missing. The result in a squeaky-clean saga that would put anyone to sleep.
In the movie, an assortment of college kids -- conveniently subdivided into groups of wholesome all-American, beer-guzzling jocks, horn-rimmed nerds, dateless wonders and a slob/greaser combon team -- drive all over town in the middle of the night tracking down clues. (Never mind why.) Along the way they push one another into swimming pools, dive into vats of beer and generally have a fine old time.
That doesn't sound too funny? How about a little "ethnic" humor -- the captain of the slob team keeps his Hispanic maid hopping, ordering her in pidgin-o Spanisho to clean up his messes. And, for those in the audience who are physically perfect, there's the "comic" spectacle of two grossly obese girls on the dateless-wonder team -- twins so overweight that they have to be carted around town in the back of a pickup truck, and whose lines consist soley of the words "tee-hee" repeated over and over.
At the other end of the spectrum there's Laura, the all-American heroine, who's California-pretty and talks like this: "Addimmm! You're walkeen away from a challenge!Scott rilly cares about you!"
To be fair, the preview audience seemed to enjoy the movie. Enjoy it? They loved it."Just like in 'Animal House,' " one guy chortled during a scene in which the captain of the slob team stuffed a bag of marshmallows into his mouth. But there was a little bit more to John Belushi's performance than overeating.
It's called talent.