Glowing reviews are lovely but you have to take them in stride. The minute you start BELIEVING them you're cooked. Because as someone once said, "There are always Romanian judges".
David Isaacs and I wrote the screenplay for VOLUNTEERS (probably playing right now on Spike or the Food Network) and got our first taste of high profile movie reviews. To give you an example of why you can't take them too seriously, here are two reviews from presumably the same movie.
From the New York Times
By WALTER GOODMAN
Published: August 16, 1985
Take a healthy helping of ''Raiders of the Lost Ark,'' a dollop of ''The Bridge on the River Kwai,'' a dash of any Tarzan movie, a soupcon of ''Casablanca,'' a whiff of ''The Wizard of Oz'' and a stunt or two from a favorite Saturday serial, stir frenetically, and if you're lucky enough to have snappy dialogue by Ken Levine and David Isaacs, you may end up with as funny a movie as ''Volunteers.''
….There are lots of snappy exchanges. ''I thought you wanted to be my friend,'' Beth admonishes when Lawrence makes a pass. He replies, ''This is what I do with my friends.'' In refusing to pay his son's debts, Lawrence's father (George Plimpton) assures him that some day he will thank Dad for the gift of self-reliance and for the opportunity to learn to use a walker. It is a particular pleasure to report that although Lawrence naturally falls in love with Beth and goes through plenty of trouble to save her from being turned into a drug fiend, she does not make a better man of him.
Although the movie, which opens today at the United Artists Twin and other theaters, begins with film clips of icons of the early 1960's - John F. Kennedy, Pope John XXIII, Marilyn Monroe, Ed Sullivan - the spirit is very much of the 80's. But a little melancholy may blend with the laughter ''Volunteers'' draws at the expense of those earnest days when a President was urging people to ask what they could do for their country.
On the other hand….from VARIETY
By VARIETY STAFF
Volunteers is a very broad and mostly flat comedy [from a story by Keith Critchlow] about hijinx in the Peace Corps, circa 1962. Toplined Tom Hanks gets in a few good zingers as an upperclass snob doing time in Thailand, but promising premise and opening shortly descend into unduly protracted tedium.
Hanks plays Lawrence Bourne 3d, an arrogant, snide rich boy from Yale who trades places with an earnest Peace Corps designate when his gambling debts land him in danger at home. Once ensconced in a remote village, contentious couple Hanks and cohort Rita Wilson and ultra do-gooder John Candy set out to build a bridge across a river. Kidnapped and brainwashed by the commies, the gung-ho Candy disappears for a long stretch.
With Candy absent most of the time, Hanks' one-note, if sometimes clever, attitudinizing wears out its welcome after a while. He also is deprived of anyone effective to play off.
Lensed in Mexico, pic features a muddy, truly ugly look. Also present is the most offensively blatant plug for Coca-Cola yet seen in the new era of Coke-owned entertainment companies.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
By Ken Levine at 8:58 PM