This breathless action-comedy by the master himself, James "TITANIC" CAMERON, should dispel the myth that TOM ARNOLD owes anything to Roseanne Barr. His career would have taken off if he'd never met her...that's how good he is in this film as sidekick Albert Gibson. Without Tom this might have been just a retread of all the other Schwarzenegger action films.
James Bond could take lessons from Harry Tasker (SCHWARZENEGGER), AKA Harry Rehnquist, a spy for the CIA-like Omega Sector. The movie opens with Harry crashing the type of party I like invitations to...a posh black-tie and champagne flute affair at a mansion in Switzerland. He's there to download computer files about an Iranian terrorist group called Crimson Jihad to the computer in the van where his partner (ARNOLD) and a co-worker are waiting to whisk him away when his host discovers the uninvited guest. If he didn't stop to tango with Juno Skinner (CARRERE), a "dealer of arts and antiquities" he would have made it to the van without notice. But his buddies wouldn't be impressed if he didn't fight off the machine-gun armed guards and hostile dobermans before flying home to his wife, Helen, in a suburb of Washington, D.C.
Harry's wife (CURTIS) is not so impressed. She's bored with the man she thinks is just a computer salesman: "Whenever I can't sleep I ask Harry to tell me about his day and I'm out in six seconds."
He's never home and when he is he doesn't pay attention to her:
"I slept with the plumber and he said he'd knock off $100."
"Thank you, honey. That's good."
His daughter thinks even less of him. He brings her snowglobes as presents. What teenage girl wants a snowglobe?? He doesn't even know her age yet he's upset to discover that she's stealing money. Albert's full of optimism: "You're not her father. Her parents are Axl Rose and Madonna. The five minutes a day you spend with her can't compete with that kind of constant bombardment."
When Harry doesn't come home again until after midnight (because he's chasing terrorists through the Bonaventure hotel on a horse) Helen decides to spice up her monotonous life by having an affair with Simon, a car salesman who's (ironically) pretending to be a spy. And from here the movie just keeps getting better and better.
There's something in it for everyone. For you guys it's Jamie Lee Curtis' erotic dance number. Curtis is what I call a true old-fashioned movie star. She's not afraid to make herself look frumpy in the first half of the movie for laughs. One of my favorite scenes is when she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror outside of the hotel room, realizes she looks frumpy and transforms herself into a hooker with the help of a vase full of flowers. (You'll have to see what I mean by renting the movie.) "I needed to feel alive," she excuses her tryst with Simon, "I just wanted to do something outrageous...I just wanted to look back and say I was reckless and I was wild, and I did it...I f***ing did it."
I can't say enough about the chemistry between the supporting cast members in this movie! SALIM AZIZ is superb as the leader of the terrorist jihad...he looks scarier than Osama Bin Laden. BILL PAXTON is hysterical as the car salesmen who seduces bored married women by offering them excitement. This role is so far removed from the characters he usually portrays. (The treasure hunter in TITANIC, the scientist in TWISTER, and the brother of slow-witted Billy Bob Thornton in A SIMPLE PLAN come to my mind). It truly establishes him as one of today's most versatile actors, proving he can handle comedy as well as straight roles in thrillers or blockbusters. CHARLTON HESTON makes a cameo appearance as Albert and Harry's boss.
The next time you're craving excitement in your dull monotonous life, this is the movie to rent.
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