Despite the presence of both Morgan Freeman and a suspiciously creative serial killer, “Kiss the Girls” does not resemble “Seven.”
For one thing, there’s daylight in “Kiss the Girls.” And the tone is completely different. Whereas the brilliant “Seven” was hopeless and cruel, “Kiss the Girls” emphasizes the courage and pluck exhibited by one of the would-be killer’s would-be victims.
She is played by Ashley Judd (“A Time to Kill”). A doctor, she is kidnapped by an unseen villain who calls himself Casanova, but she escapes and tells the authorities that he has several other young women still in captivity. So Judd and Freeman join forces to rescue the women and give Casanova the kiss-off.
Like “Silence of the Lambs,” “Kiss the Girls” is primarily concerned with the villain’s motive - what does he want with these particular women? But “Kiss the Girls” is nowhere near as psychologically complex as “Silence,” so it falls on the actors to keep things interesting.
Freeman does the job near the beginning of the film. Playing a cop who calms crime victims with the mellifluous power of his voice, he has a dignity and gravity that balance the lurid aspects of the story. But his role gets less compelling as the movie progresses. And, although Judd is forthrightly intelligent in her under-written role, your heart sinks when she becomes a cheerleader and you hear her saying the female nonentity line they use in all these movies: “Be careful.”
“Kiss the Girls” tries to rescue itself from its familiarity with a bunch of plot twists at the denouement. But if you think a little about the kinds and sizes of roles that the supporting actors in “Kiss the Girls” usually play, you will have no trouble figuring out who the bad guy is. In fact, if I were to list their names right here, you’d be be able to spot him without even seeing the movie.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: “Kiss the Girls” Location: East Sprague, Newport, Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls cinemas Credits: Directed by Gary Fleder, starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd Running time: 2:04 Rating: R