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'Blind Date'

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 03, 1987


Blake Edwards
Bruce Willis;
Kim Basinger;
John Larroquette;
William Daniels;
George Coe;
Mark Blum;
Phil Hartman
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent

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REMEMBER the deal with those Gremlins -- "Whatever you do, don't get them wet"? With "Blind Date's" Kim Basinger, it's "whatever you do, don't get her drunk." (As we all know, it is always appropriate to hose her down.)

But otherwise, the concept is basically the same -- liquids can make you silly, and anybody can make a movie. In babe Basinger's case, give her champagne and she becomes a self-destructive dipsomaniac, wrecking her future along with the furniture, in this cautionary tale for the just-say-no generation.

Blake Edwards directs this unfunny farce, a banal boozer's comedy that relies on the comedic e'clat of Basinger: basically, Barbie doing standup. Meanwhile leading man Bruce Willis is all buttoned-down and leashed (unlike the movie's slobbering Doberman, the second movie dog named Rambo in less than a month).

No doubt Willis's fans were expecting a big-screen version of his TV bad-boy act, figuring the sexist smartypants would finally find a soulmate in Basinger -- and they'd get horizontal. No way.

What this movie needs is Cybill Shepherd playing hard to get. Or anybody playing hard to get. Willis as a wimpy would-be executive and Basinger as the demure date gone awry generate about as much sexual tension as underpants that have lost their elastic.

The script by "Ruthless People" writer Dale Launer hasn't enough finesse for successful farce. Plodding and overplotted, it staggers under the weight of its contrivances -- the coarse sort of comedy we've come to expect from Edwards, a la the butler mooning the barking Doberman. At least Julie Andrews isn't in "Blind Date."

So, Willis's life is ruined when he plies Basinger with bubbly at a company dinner. She insults his boss, a Japanese magnate, slurs a French waiter, and then regrets her behavior. Willis retaliates by getting squiffed at a cocktail party hosted by some of her hoity-toity pals, all the while pursued by her jealous former boyfriend, "Night Court's" John Larroquette. The customary hijinks ensue. And in the finale, Basinger at last is doused in the swimming pool. It must be in her contract. BLIND DATE (PG-13) -- At area theaters.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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