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Arts & Entertainment

Formula Flick Is Pretty ‘Jaded’

Fri., Oct. 13, 1995, midnight

After seeing “Showgirls” and “Basic Instinct” and “Sliver” and “Jade,” I feel like screenwriter Joe Ezterhas’ therapist.

“Jade” is another one of Ezterhas’ I’m-dating-a-woman-who-might-be-a-murderer movies and, whether the lead character is a stripper/whore, a novelist/whore, an editor/ whore or, as in “Jade,” a psychologist/ whore, his obsessions are so clear and so Sigma Chi: He hates strong women and he punishes them by divesting them of all their clothes (in this case, while talking on the phone) and making them look foolish.

What is most interesting about “Jade” is the extent to which Linda Fiorentino resists this treatment. Oh, she’s nude all right, but it is not possible to make this intelligent, flinty actress look foolish. Fiorentino brings so much to the party that she makes her character - a clinical psychologist who may or may not be “Jade,” a mystery woman who has sex with powerful men who later croak - much more interesting than she’s meant to be.

She throws off the balance of the movie, which has Ezterhas’ trademark crude dialog and lesbian subtext and is supposed to be about the romantic rivalry of two men who love Fiorentino. One man, played by Chazz Palminteri, is a lawyer who knows too much, and the other, played by David Caruso, is the cop investigating Jade. They’re both good actors, but you resent them for taking the screen away from Fiorentino.

Save your resentment for the script, with a finale that is nonsensical even by movie standards. Along the way, there’s lots of tedious one-upmanship between the men and a lengthy chase scene that somehow finds it way into a Chinatown parade. And if you’re remembering that that’s exactly what happened in the “What’s Up, Doc?” bit that made fun of this kind of chase scene, you have a better memory than anyone who worked on “Jade.”

xxxx “Jade” Location: Lincoln Heights, Lyons and Coeur d’Alene. Credits: Directed by William Friedkin; starring David Caruso, Chazz Palminteri and Linda Fiorentino Running time: 1:35 Rating: R

Other view Dolores A. Barclay/Associated Press: Early on in “Jade,” there’s a scene in which an assistant district attorney finds a cufflink at a murder scene. He immediately recognizes it and suppresses it as evidence - a move that’s totally out of character and pretty dumb. The scene is important in discussing “Jade” because it’s symptomatic of what’s so terribly wrong with this meandering effort. The movie is a superficial jumble, weak in plot, narrative, character development and scope. Motives are flimsy, with the storyline borrowed from other works.

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