"Transylvania 6-5000" offers the varieties of shtick that, in somewhat higher form, used to enliven the Dean Martin celebrity roasts. But what's this you say? No Foster Brooks? No Golddiggers???!!!!! Forget it!
The story involves two reporters whose employer, a sensationalist tabloid, sends them to Transylvania to find Frankenstein. One (Ed Begley Jr.) is both the publisher's son and an unscrupulous striver; the other (Jeff Goldblum) is a self-styled socially conscious muckraker. They arrive in Transylvania. And if you haven't heard this one before:
1) The mayor also owns the town's only hotel.
2) The hotel, a haunted castle, takes American Express and Diners Club.
3) The violinists at the local restaurant serenade the guests with "New York, New York," which is sung "New Jork, New Jork."
4) "You heard about the surgeon's lobotomy? You no lobotomy, I won't lo-bother you."
5) "Can I suggest something?" "You do suggest something -- a baboon."
6) "You were wonderful" (Teresa Ganzel to Jeff Goldblum).
In between, the movie appears to be an epic about Goldblum doing a double take -- bugging his eyes and narrowing his eyes, knitting his brow and pursing his fishy lips. Begley is misused, although not so much as Carol Kane, who is not so misused as John Byner (as the hunchbacked assistant), who is not as misused as Joseph Bologna (as the mad scientist Dr. Malavaqua).
Oh, yeah: For "Sara" fans (and according to the Nielsens, there are at least 10 of you out there), Geena Davis, showing more skin than talent, plays a nymphomaniac Draculette.
The movie was written by Rudy DeLuca, who also directs, and a camera in his hands is a dangerous thing. The only method to the framing is an unerring instinct for the inappropriate; "Transylvania 6-5000" appears to have been edited with a putty knife. And the look of the movie, which alternates between a moldy green and gobby white overexposure, leads you to ask not who was the cinematographer, but why.
Transylvania 6-5000, opening today at area theaters, is rated PG-13.