There are several questions raised by "Million Dollar Mystery," Dino De Laurentis' latest attempt to separate decent, hard-working Americans from their disposable income, the most important being, "How much do you want a million dollars?" If your answer is, "Bad enough to sit through just about anything," then go ahead, I dare ya, try to last through the whole thing. I'll be over in the corner with a trash bag over my head, and, believe me, you won't be the one having more fun.
"Million Dollar Mystery" isn't a movie really; it's a scam to lure people into the Million Dollar Mystery Movie Sweepstakes, a contest, cosponsored by De Laurentiis and Glad Bags, offering a million bucks to whomever can hold his stomach long enough to collect all the clues scattered throughout the film to the whereabouts of the hidden money.
The lost cash is what remains of $4 million in payoffs from the Libyan government to Sidney Preston (Tom Bosley, Glad's television spokesman), who's swiped it for himself and socked it away (in a Glad Handle-Tie trash bag), in million-dollar bundles, in four different places. Three of the packets are found by characters in the film, which leaves, well, you rascals guessed it, $1 million somewhere out there for some enterprising, clever, masochistic individual to dig up.
Now is this a cheap trick, or what? When you're given your ticket at the box office, they also hand you an Official Entry Form, which you fill out with your name, address and the solution to the mystery, and send in. To whom, do you think? Hmmmm, could it be Oliver North, or PTL, or, maybe ... SATAN!!
The whole thing, which was directed by Richard Fleischer and was intended as an update of "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World," is just too grim to be true. And yet there it is. My advice: ignore it and maybe it will go away.
Million Dollar Mystery, at area theaters, is rated PG and contains no objectionable material.