EYEWITNESS (PG) -- AMC Carrollton, Laurel Cinema, Loehmann's Plaza, Roth's Montgomery, Roth's Parkway, Roth's Silver Spring East, Roth's Tysons Corner, Showcase Fair City Mall, Springfield Mall And Tenley Circle.
Last time we saw William Hurt, he had just escaped an altered state. Last time we saw Sigourney Weaver, she and her cat had just eluded the "Alien." Back from their respective voids and together for the firs time, Hurt and Weaver romp romantically as janitor and TV news reporter in "Eyewitness," a murky mystery produced and directed by Peter Yates and written by Steve Tesich, the guys who uplifted us via "Breaking Away."
Although Weaver looked better in a space suit, she still has the old get-up-and-go as newscaster and prepared rich kid Tony Sokolow. Women will hold their heads high as she rolls down the macadam, having just flug herself out of a vehicle full of villains, and into the path of Hurt's motorcycle, upon which she rides away into the night and the promise of a tryst at his seedy, but wholesome, apartment.
Wholsome's coming at you here. And a relief it is, too. At last, there's a man fit to use Doris Day's Buff Puff. That man is Daryll Deever, the janitor with a heart of gold, a man who invites a girl up not for drink, but a cup of coffee.
Despite poverty, war and a dead-end job, Deever is trustworthy, cheerful, clean, loving, sensitive, better than a Boy Scout. Naturally an attractive, extremely wealthy television reporter would fall for him. This is America, after all, and wholesome people make out here. This is the land where Leslie Stahl might at any moment quit her job to run away with an elevator operator at the Dupont Circle Building, provided he is build like a brick gas pump.
As it would have been hard not to notice in "Altered States," Hurt is stacked. In "Eyewitness," he is a disarmingly able comedic actor. "I've had a crush on you for two years," he says to Weaver, who is interviewing him on the scene. He sets up the interview -- not the other way around -- when he tells Weaver he was there when a notorious Vietnamese bad guy was offed with a telephone cord.
After the interview, he vows her with his custodial charms: "Say, your floors need buffing or something?" Followed by: "First I strip off the old wax. Then I lay down a smooth and even coat . . . Then I buff it and buff it (this suggestively) . . . slowly . . . gently . . . till it beams."
She doesn't call his bluff, but all the same, Weaver can't resist a good story. After talking with her news director, she decides she'll go even further than Hildy Johnson for a real scoop. The love scenes that ensue between the woman and her source have been compared to those pithy, punchy, fast-quipping ones played out between Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in film after film. Like Tracy and Hepburn, Hurt and Weaver aim a wisecrack or so below the belt, but that only sweetens the denouement:
"I'll tell you right not, it's going to be wonderful," Hurt says to Weaver.
But will it be good for you, too? Unabashedly, yes. Three stars and no waxy buildup.