November 22, 1996 in Seven

New Videos Have Bombs Bursting In Air And Demi Maybe Goes Bare

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Let’s face it, when we’re talking about a movie titled “Striptease,” coyness just isn’t going to cut it.

So we should simply be honest and come out with the question that’s on most everybody’s mind.

Which is: Does Demi Moore shed her clothes in this adaptation of Florida mystery novelist Carl Hiaasen’s book?

It’s a fair question. And it’s one that’s being answered in millions of households across the nation this week now that the Columbia TriStar video release is available (it reached video stores on Tuesday).

The desire to know whether the curvy Moore bares her assets may even be why 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment chose to delay the release of its summer blockbuster “Independence Day” until today instead of going head-to-head, so to speak, with Moore’s breasts.

After all, what’s the destruction of a space alien or two compared to the exciting prospect of using your VCR’s slo-mo feature to scope out Moore’s surgically enhanced - OK, OK, allegedly enhanced bustline?

Not much, really, even if we are talking about a space-alien adventure in “Independence Day” that earned a whopping $304,738,610 in its first 19 weeks and five days of theatrical release.

“Striptease” didn’t come close to making even the top-10 list of box-office hits.

Even so, 20th Century Fox is thinking optimistically. It has printed some 20 million copies of “Independence Day” in preparation not only for a renter’s rush but also for the sell-through market.

Christmas, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is only a few shopping weeks away.

“Striptease” will be available in considerably fewer numbers, though Columbia TriStar certainly has to be aware of the film’s essential appeal. Like us, the company must recognize that the movie boasts two major attractions.

Returning to the main question, then, do we get to see those attractions? And while we’re at it, what exactly is the climatic plot device that makes “Independence Day” such a fun rental.

The answers to both questions are

(Our apologies. The last paragraph of this section was deleted for lack of space.)

Independence Day

***-1/2

Though there’s not much here that’s original, “Independence Day” passes the summer-movie test of film entertainment: It plays well even when there’s snow on the ground. It involves what occurs one July 4th weekend when an alien fleet visits Earth, attacks with deadly precision and then has to fight the combined wrath of those humans who have survived. The special effects are impressive, though not any more so than a number of other summer efforts (especially “Twister”), and they certainly won’t play as well on a television screen as they did in theaters. But that’s not such a big problem, because the actors who fill the roles of feisty fighter pilot (Will Smith), eccentric electronics wizard (Jeff Goldblum), low-key-but-heroic president (Bill Pullman), Jewish father (Judd Hirsch) and presidential adviser (Margaret Colin) help give the film a spirited sense of humor that amount to one big wink at the audience. And the best joke of all, in this era of cultural diversity, is that the Earthlings who lead the final charge are a black man and a Jew (not to mention an alcoholic Vietnam veteran). Hey, all it takes is a world crisis to bring us all together - and isn’t that an original thought. Rated PG-13

Striptease

**

In this adaptation of the Carl Hiaasen best-seller, Demi Moore portrays a woman who becomes a stripper to earn the money she needs so that she can sue for custody of her son. But things get murderously complicated, sort of humorously, when she gets mixed up with a randy politician (Burt Reynolds). I say “sort of” because Moore doesn’t seem to realize that she’s supposed to be making a dark comedy. Instead, she seems to be auditioning for the role of Mrs. Cleaver in a feminist remake of “Leave It to Beaver.” Reynolds mugs too much, and Armand Assante’s role (unlike the book) has been reduced to mere set decoration. But Ving Rhames (“Pulp Fiction”) is great. What ultimately gets lost, especially amid the farcical climax, is novelist Hiaasen’s clever story. Rated R

The Phantom

*

After directing the television miniseries “Lonesome Dove,” Australian filmmaker Simon Wincer seemed to possess some talent. Subsequent movies such as “Quigley Down Under,” “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man” and “Lightning Jack” disabused us of that notion quickly enough. This adaptation of the once-popular comic strip attempts to capture the campy atmosphere of its 1930s setting. But the many contemporary references, not to mention cheesy settings and special effects don’t work. At all. Rated PG

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. WHAT’S NEW TO VIEW Now available: “Independence Day” (Fox), “Striptease” (Columbia TriStar), “The Phantom” (Paramount), “Kazaam” (Touchstone), “Phat Beach” (IVE), “Lily Dale (Hemdale), “Weekend In the Country” (Hemdale), “Deadly Voyage” (HBO). Available Tuesday: Available Tuesday: “Dragonheart” (MCA/ Universal), “Pie In the Sky” (New Line), “American Strays” (Pix).

2. READER REVIEW Shallow Grave “This is a story about friendship but, as the title hints, friendship that is tested to the very end. We are introduced to the main characters - Juliet, Alex and David - as they are interviewing various people for the position of ‘roommate.’ Here we see the dynamics of their friendship (and wonder who could possibly fit in with them)! Enter the perfect roommate. Perfect because he seems unobtrusive and pays his rent up front in cash. Perfect until they discover him dead. And perfect because they find his suitcase is full of money. What happens next is pivotal in the relationships Julie, Alex and David share. Rest assured that you will be on the edge of your seat as you watch what happens when friendship is tested by greed.” Colleen Lippert

These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. WHAT’S NEW TO VIEW Now available: “Independence Day” (Fox), “Striptease” (Columbia TriStar), “The Phantom” (Paramount), “Kazaam” (Touchstone), “Phat Beach” (IVE), “Lily Dale (Hemdale), “Weekend In the Country” (Hemdale), “Deadly Voyage” (HBO). Available Tuesday: Available Tuesday: “Dragonheart” (MCA/ Universal), “Pie In the Sky” (New Line), “American Strays” (Pix).

2. READER REVIEW Shallow Grave “This is a story about friendship but, as the title hints, friendship that is tested to the very end. We are introduced to the main characters - Juliet, Alex and David - as they are interviewing various people for the position of ‘roommate.’ Here we see the dynamics of their friendship (and wonder who could possibly fit in with them)! Enter the perfect roommate. Perfect because he seems unobtrusive and pays his rent up front in cash. Perfect until they discover him dead. And perfect because they find his suitcase is full of money. What happens next is pivotal in the relationships Julie, Alex and David share. Rest assured that you will be on the edge of your seat as you watch what happens when friendship is tested by greed.” Colleen Lippert


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