It’s actually kind of remarkable how little works in The Man with One Red Shoe. On paper, there’s a lot of promise: A goofy rom-com farce with lots of satire and visual gags; a loaded cast including Carrie Fisher, Dabney Coleman, and Jim Belushi; and — most importantly — a young Tom Hanks on the ascent to superstardom.
So where did it go wrong? Actually, it’s much more succinct to summarize the things that work: There are a handful of clever slapstick gags and shots. The cast is pleasant enough that you won’t want to gouge your eyes out. And Hanks, at least, has a human enough performance to keep the film on the ricketiest of tracks when he’s given sufficient screentime, which is not often enough.
Everything else? Ouch. The plot is a convoluted cat-and-mouse, spy vs. spy comic thriller that doesn’t give us any reason to care. It takes nearly 25 minutes for the scenario — a musician played by Hanks is misidentified as a spy (or something) — to get properly kicking. If you’re not fully checked out by then, cheers, mate.
The side characters are stupid and/or offensive. Poor Carrie Fisher plays three dumb stereotypes at once and gets gawked at in her skivvies for not much reason. The spy scenes are an avalanche of idiocy, with only intermittent wit (the knockout gas spray, e.g.). The romance with Lori Singer is so shallow it makes Splash look like Rohmer.
Just a total misfire and a waste of potential, especially with young megawatt Hanks in the lead.
- Review Project: Tom Hanks Retrospective
Not Good (2/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.