In “Fair Game,” supermodel Cindy Crawford plays Kate McQuean, a gorgeous Miami civil lawyer who wears dangerously short miniskirts to work (you can imagine her standing up in court saying “Your honor, I’m an object!”).
As the movie opens, Kate has been marked for murder - not for her fashion sense, which is impeccable - but for a repossession case involving a boat being used for mysterious purposes by some ex-KGB agents.
The Russians first take a shot at Kate as she’s jogging along Ocean Drive: They miss. Then they blow up her Miami Shores waterfront apartment, but the only casualty is a cat; the blast sends Kate off her balcony and into the water, from which she emerges soaked and frazzled but miraculously unhurt (maybe her mousse was fireproof).
This makes the bad guys really mad. Armed with high-tech surveillance gizmos and tracking devices, they storm the hotel where detective Max Kirkpatrick (William Baldwin) has taken the dazed and confused Kate to hide out.
The killers easily dispatch the cops standing guard in the lobby, but when they take aim at Kate, the assassins turn into the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. Their bullets do find the water pipes in the hotel walls, poor Kate ends up drenched (again!), and she must run around in a wet T-shirt for awhile - without a bra, natch.
Kate and Max get away and call the FBI for help, but the agents who come to the rescue turn out to be impersonators (those sneaky Russians!).
A gratuitously violent shootout ensues, and Max and Kate again manage to slip away, leaving Max to marvel at the Russkies’ ingenious “fake badge” trick (“I did everything I was supposed to,” he says, thoroughly puzzled. “I CHECKED HIS ID!”).
The two check into another hotel, and Kate takes her second shower of the night (she likes water, that one). Before she can get any rest, the killers come calling again, so Max decides it’ll be safer for them to just drive around in his Jeep while they try to figure out why Kate is so darned unpopular.
Until the plot proved us wrong, we just figured the bad guys were members of the Acting Police. “Fair Game” has been delayed for months, primarily because test audiences reportedly laughed at Crawford’s performance and were confused by the story. Some clumsy nips and tucks later, “Fair Game” still doesn’t make sense, and what’s left of Crawford’s performance still cracks you up.
Considering she’s the star, Crawford gets scant dialogue here: Only a couple of times is she even allowed to recite three sentences in a row. Chunks of the film seem to be missing, too: The scene containing the infamous line “This is Miami; we only shoot the tourists!” from “Fair Game’s” trailer is gone, and the action sometimes shifts unexpectedly from one locale to the next without explanation (watch how the background changes suddenly after Baldwin handcuffs himself to Crawford).
It doesn’t help that what dialogue Crawford does have consists of lines like “What’s going ON?” “What the hell is THAT?” “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever SEEN!” “I was hoping to demo your unit,” and our personal favorite, “What’s that SMELL?,” which Kate asks Max as they’re parked next to a tractor-trailer full of oinking, rooting pigs. What’s worse, Crawford has no concept of inflection or tone. She speaks her lines in bored monotone from beginning to end
Screenwriter Charlie Fletcher isn’t stingy with the awful lines, giving the villains equally tasty bon mots (“You can have the boat back,” a bad guy tells a captured Kate, “only it will be in little pieces, with YOURSELF IN IT!”).
Director Andrew Sipes has a nice flair for MTV-style action - the movie looks as slick as a fashion magazine - but like other recent made-in-Miami action flicks (“Bad Boys,” “The Specialist”), no amount of eye candy can overcome a creatively bankrupt script.
“Fair Game” won’t hurt Crawford’s modeling career - she looks stunning in every shot - but it’s safe to say Meryl Streep has nothing to worry about.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: “FAIR GAME” Location: Lincoln Heights, North Division and Coeur d’Alene cinemas. Credits: Directed by Andrew Sipes; starring William Baldwin, Cindy Crawford, Steven Berkoff, Christopher McDonald and Salma Hayek Running time: 1:30 Rating: R