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‘Bad Boys’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 07, 1995


Michael Bay
Martin Lawrence;
Will Smith;
Tea Leoni;
Tcheky Karyo;
Karen Alexander;
Theresa Randle
sexist epithets, profanity and violence

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WILL SMITH and Martin Lawrence needed a quick-hit movie—something with blazing guns, hot babes, fast cars and the opportunity for incessant back-and-forthing. Unfortunately, Mel Gibson had already taken "Hamlet" and there was no male-buddy version of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" available. So they opted for "Bad Boys," a cop drama in which the sitcom stud muffins play Crocket & Tubbs, Riggs & Murtaugh, Dumb & Dumber—you name it.

It should come as no surprise that this endless spectacle of tired comedy routines and overblown action fare was produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, action-meisters of such '80s blockbusters as "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Top Gun." And it should come as even less surprise that, even by the low-low standards of cheap action flicks, this one's bad, boys.

Miami detectives Smith (star of TV's "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air") and Lawrence (eponymous headliner of the show "Martin") are odd buddies for life. Smith's a tough, rich ladykiller, who likes being a cop. Overworked family man Lawrence, who works for the money, dreams of one hot night with his wife (Theresa Randle, who wears a suspicious frown so long it seems only surgery can remove it). Smith drives fast. Lawrence tootles behind the wheel. Are you getting a feel for their profound character differences?

Our law enforcement officers have their work cut out when Euro-mastermind Tcheky Karyo (the Machiavellian manipulator in "La Femme Nikita") steals $100 million worth of confiscated heroin from the police. They also have to safeguard witness Tea Leoni, who saw Karyo's goons deep-six a hooker contact of Smith's. (In this movie every woman's either a friend or past score of Smith's.) As they quip through an eternity of explosions, gun battles and hair-raising driving (directed by Michael Bay, who has seen one "Miami Vice" rerun too many), Lawrence treats every moment as a cue for an unsuccessful improv routine, Smith plays the (inevitably shirtless) straight man, and Leoni basically shows off her legs. In a way, they deserve each other.

BAD BOYS (R) — Contains sexist epithets, profanity and violence.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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