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‘No Place to Hide’ (R)

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 19, 1993

"No Place to Hide" is so bad it's not even any good. No guilty pleasures are to be found in its preposterously clumsy plot, or in the limp performance of Kris Kristofferson (someone check his pulse). Even Drew Barrymore regresses from the promise of "Guncrazy" by being forced to play a petulant 14-year-old caught up in a web of murder and intrigue. For both actors, this film is a triumph of underachievement.

Barrymore plays Tinsel Harvey, whose ballerina sister Pamela (the always alluring Lydie Denier) has just become a backstage corpse de ballet during her dance company's rehearsal ("Swan Lake" or "Swan Song"?). The case falls into the lap of Detective Joe Garvey (the laconic Kristofferson, whose acting range is measured between squinting eyes and a grinding jaw). Looking for clues, Garvey comes across petulant, selfish, brattish Tinsel, now a target for an unknown attacker looking and acting suspiciously like The Shadow.

Garvey is still suffering the loss several years earlier to a drunk driver of his wife and daughter, who if still alive would be about Tinsel's age. Do we detect a budding emotional subtext? Indeed, Garvey and Tinsel, both furiously resisting attachment, slowly develop a bond excruciatingly detailed in Tinsel's voiced-over diary entries. It's all very embarrassing, as is O.J. Simpson's wheelchair cameo (perhaps he was between takes on "Naked Gun").

Director Richard Danus, who beats his own script to a pulp, has no idea where to take any of this -- loose plot threads abound -- and the inevitable revelation of a society of Dirty Harry elitists is simply ridiculous (if ever a film needed a satanic subplot, it's this one).

In any number of confrontations, Kristofferson tells Barrymore to "Run, run!" and "Get out of here!" Take those as subliminal messages.

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