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‘Kuffs’ (PG-13)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
January 10, 1992

There are devil worshippers in this world. There are Guns N'Roses fans. There are people who buy green plaid trousers. It stands to reason there are people who flock to Christian Slater movies.

Here's their chance. In "Kuffs," the pint-sized, weasel-voiced, rodent-skinned performer is on screen major time. He's also talking right at ya. Throughout this dramedy, he talks one on one with the audience. He's 21. He's a high-school dropout. He's cute, lovable, funny . . .

Not.

When girlfriend Milla Jovovich (the girl in "Return to the Blue Lagoon") tells Slater she's pregnant, our hero skips town.

"I've got women to do, places to see," he explains to the camera.

Penniless, he runs to San Francisco, where big bro and cop Bruce Boxleitner is a Special Patrol owner. The patrols date back to the 1850s, when desperate police sold jurisdictional franchises to citizens to let them do the policing. Boxleitner, a patrol inheritor, is working the beat. But he's killed in the line of duty.

Irresponsible Slater, who witnessed the killer, decides to take over the district. There's the immediate matter of revenge. He also has to earn respect from the neighborhood and the precinct. Almost everyone wants to vote him out. Linking up with on-probation partner Tony Goldwyn (the creep in "Ghost"), he encounters a nefarious scheme afoot, involving $50 million -- something his late brother was on the verge of breaking.

This movie wasn't scripted. It was shoplifted. Filmmakers Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon ought to be put in cuffs. They filch from "Dick Tracy," "Tucker: The Man and His Dream" and "Look Who's Talking." Even the music's a steal from the "Beverly Hills Cop" theme. The only joke in this un-comedy is the rock-videoesque Slater-Jovovich affair. The shoot-'em-up stuff is gruesome and the movie's PG-13 rating is highly questionable. So is the movie's entire premise.

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