Ex-Toolman Tim Allen returns as top toyman in Santa Clause 2 by absences


									             Page 8D                                                                         Laredo Morning Times                                                                 Friday, November 1, 2002                                                                           Laredo Morning Times                                                             Page 9D


                                                                                                                                                                                 Jumbled version of ‘I Spy’ just a so-so comedy
                                                                                                                                                                                  BY DAVE LARSEN                             Murphy’s standard-setting “48 Hours”      of the former’s title bout in Budapest.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Cox News Service                           to Wilson’s “Shanghai Noon.”              There, Gundars plans to sell the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Directed by Betty Thomas, who           invisible stealth jet to the highest
                                                                                                                                                                                    DAYTON, Ohio — “I Spy” shares its        previously did “The Brady Bunch           bidder at a pre-fight party whose
                                                                                                                                                                                  title with the groundbreaking 1960s        Movie” and Murphy’s “Dr. Dolittle,” the   guest list is a “who’s who of
                                                                                                                                                                                  television series that starred Robert      formulaic action caper is slight, but     international bad guys.”
                                                                                                                                                                                  Culp and Bill Cosby, but the film and      fun. While the screenplay is credited       Typical of such films, the smart-
                                                                                                                                                                                  TV show have little else in common.        to two writing teams, Murphy and          mouthed superstar and the gee-whiz
                                                                                                                                                                                    The small-screen espionage drama,        Wilson often seem to be winging it        spy can’t stand one another. But, of
                                                                                                                                                                                  which ran from 1965 to 1968,               without a script.                         course, they pull together through
                                                                                                                                                                                  combined cloak-and-dagger action             The plot is as insubstantial as the     adversity — which involves a barrage
                                                                                                                                                                                  with subtle humor. Culp and Cosby          invisible plane that our heroes attempt   of so-so action sequences, including
                                                                                                                                                                                  portrayed undercover agents Kelly          to track down, but it coasts on the       car      chases,      shootouts    and
                                                                                                                                                                                  Robinson and Alexander Scott, who          stars’ charm and is invigorated by        explosions.
                                                                                                                                                                                  posed as a top-seeded tennis player        their lively comedic riffing.               “I Spy” delivers some decent laughs,
                                                                                                                                                                                  and his trainer, respectively. Cosby         “I Spy” opens with a James Bond-        the best of which are drawn from
                                                                                                                                                                                  had the distinction of being the first     inspired prologue sequence set in the     Scott’s clunky, oversized gizmos and
                                                                                                                                                                                  black performer to have a starring role    snowy Uzbekistan mountains, where         a “Cyrano de Bergerac”-style duet of
                                                                                                                                                                                  on a regular dramatic series on            Scott attempts to retrieve a turncoat     “Sexual Healing.”
                                                                                                                                                                                  American television.                       pilot who has sold his top-secret spy       The film tends to drag when Murphy                                                                              AP Photo
                                                                                                                                                                                    The big-screen version stars Eddie       plane to nefarious European arms          and      Wilson’s     characters   are    DirectorJulie Taymor is flanked by an image of the Mexican artist Frida
                                                                                                                                                                                  Murphy and Owen Wilson, who                dealer Arnold Gundars (Malcolm            separated, but it clicks when they mix    Kahlo, right, and the actress who plays her, Salma Hayek, left, in
                                                                                                                                                                                  reverse the characters’ identities and     McDowell). Clearly no Bond, Scott         it up together. Murphy puts an            Taymor's movie, “Frida.”
                                                                                                                                                                                  roles. Murphy’s Robinson is the            inadvertently starts an avalanche and     aggressive spin on his sassy motor-
                                                                                                                                                                                  middleweight world champion, who is
                                                                                                                                                                                  recruited by a jive-talking George W.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             nearly botches his mission.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The far-fetched spoof also lifts its
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       mouth shtick, while the laconic Wilson
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       provides cool counterpoint to his         Salma Hayek, the force behind ‘Frida’
                                                                                                                                                                                  Bush to provide cover for Wilson’s         spy-gadget testing area from the          partner.
                                                                                                                                                                                  agent Scott. The blond-haired, blue-       Bond films, plus it features former         As ‘60s TV-to-movie adaptations go,     BY MICHAEL PRAGER                       play Kahlo, only to have the project
                                                                                                                                                                                  eyed Scott attempts to blend in with       “Bond babe” Famke Janssen as a            “I Spy” tops “Wild Wild West” and “The    c.2002 The Boston Globe                 stalled by protests from Latinos
                                                                                                                                                                                  Robinson’s black entourage.                sexy agent with whom Scott is             Avengers.” But as a buddy action-                                                 that Kahlo should be played by one
                                                                                                                                                                                    “I Spy” doesn’t so much recall the       smitten.                                  comedy, it’s nothing that we haven’t        LOS ANGELES — What savvy              of their own. As recently as 2000,
                                                                                                                                                                                  television series as its stars’ previous     Robinson and Scott are reluctantly      spied countless times before.             actress wouldn’t want to play Frida     Jennifer Lopez was signed to star
                                                                                                                                                                                  cross-cultural buddy comedies, from        paired by the spy agency on the eve                                                 Kahlo, the Mexican artist and           in a Frida biopic by Francis Ford
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 American pop icon whose 47 years        Coppola.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 on     this   earth     would      be     But it is Salma Hayek whose

Ex-Toolman Tim Allen returns as top toyman in ‘Santa Clause 2’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   unbelievable if they weren’t true?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   She survived a bus accident at 18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 in which she was impaled on a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         efforts will bring “Frida” to theaters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         on Friday. She co-produced the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         movie and appears in nearly every
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 metal rod — and nearly                  scene. And though this is the first
BY DAVID GERMAIN                                  constantly thinking about that. I don’t know       The new movie presents Allen in the real       rating distributor Disney is known for. Most                                                                                                                 bankrupted her family during her        time Hayek is being asked to carry
AP Movie Writer                                   who you emulate on that. There’s only a          world as he “de-Santafies” — losing his fat      of Allen’s film and TV success has come                                                                                                                      convalescence. She began to paint       a film, one could say she was born
                                                  couple of role models that don’t ever bomb.      belly, white hair and beard — and tries to       with Disney, including the “Toy Story”                                                                                                                       as an outlet for her pain, which led    for the role.
  LOS ANGELES — Tools and toys. Tim               So you just can’t focus on that.”                find a woman to settle down with him up          movies and “Home Improvement,” which                                                                                                                         her to a passionate and stormy            Both she and Kahlo were born in
Allen can’t escape the trappings of his best-       Until “Big Trouble” and “Joe Somebody,”        north. He also doubles as a “toy Santa” —        aired on Disney-owned ABC.                                                                                                                                   relationship with fellow artist Diego   Mexico of artistic bent and
known roles.                                      Allen had a solid resume of second-tier          a plastic substitute left behind to mind the       Allen, who spices up his conversation with                                                                                                                 Rivera; they married, divorced,         unconventional nature: As a teen,
  Formerly Tim “The Toolman” Taylor on            movies to accompany his blockbusters. His        shop, a role that required a four-hour           four-letter words and built a stand-up                                                                                                                       then married again.                     Kahlo dressed in men’s clothing;
“Home Improvement” and the voice of               comedy “For Richer or Poorer” tanked, but        makeup job each day.                             comedy career loaded with vulgar                                                                                                                               They were both marital infidels,      Hayek smoked cigars. Kahlo kept
plaything Buzz Lightyear in the “Toy Story”       he had modest successes with the                   The sequel gives Allen, generally cast as      language, finds it ironic he wound up in                                                                                                                     but Kahlo’s dalliances were             exotic animals, including monkeys;
movies, Allen returns as Big Cheese of the        fatherhood romp “Jungle 2 Jungle” and the        a lovable lunkhead, a chance to play the         partnership with wholesome Disney.                                                                                                                           sometimes with women who had            Hayek had a pair of them too.
North Pole toy industry in “The Santa             sci-fi spoof “Galaxy Quest.” Allen’s credits     heavy, albeit a comic one. As the toy Santa,       “It makes me smile all the time that what                                                                                                                  hopped from Rivera’s bed to hers.       Though Kahlo’s handicaps were
Clause 2,” the sequel to his 1994 hit.            also include a supporting role as a movie-       Allen goes on a power trip, replacing his        my standup was, to translate that into                                                                                                                       Her lovers included Leon Trotsky,       far     more     dramatic,        Hayek
  Allen wants to broaden his range, but he’s      obsessed hit man in last summer’s low-           Santa outfit with a fascist uniform, deciding    ‘Home Improvement’ is an amazing                                                                                                                             the Russian revolutionary who           overcame dyslexia.
not grousing yet about typecasting. Santa’s       budget caper “Who Is Cletis Tout?”               the world’s children all deserve lumps of        metamorphosis,” Allen said. “They just took                                                                                                                  sought refuge, unsuccessfully, in         Hayek smokes cigarettes, too,
too good a gig, he says.                            In the original “Santa Clause,” Allen plays    coal and creating an army of giant toy           out all the objectionable stuff that kids                                                                                                                    Mexico.                                 much to the disapproval of her
  And it doesn’t hurt that the follow-up to his   a divorced dad who accidentally bumps off        soldiers to enslave his elves.                   couldn’t see and put the rest into a sit-com,                                                                                                                  It would seem that such rich          boyfriend, actor Edward Norton.
highest-grossing live-action movie comes          Kris Kringle, then begins transforming into        “He’s a much better actor than anybody         and it still works.                                                                                                                                          material, bolstered by public           But she got that directly from
after two bombs the past year, “Joe               the jolly old elf when he slips on Santa’s       gives him credit for,” said “Santa Clause 2”       “It may be pretty edgy, but even in my                                                                                                                     interest that has grown over the        Kahlo: “One of the benefits of
Somebody” and “Big Trouble.” With a clever        coat. The new movie picks up eight years         director Michael Lembeck. “Tim has this          standup, I’m a likable guy, because in my                                                                                                                    past 15 years to outstrip anything      being a star is you get to learn how
premise that’s faithful to the first movie        later, with Santa forced to search for a bride   incredible comedy tool in his tool kit, but he   heart, I am a likable guy. On the surface,                                                                                                                   she knew in life, would have            to smoke for work.
without simply duplicating it, “The Santa         if he wants to keep his job.                     also has wonderful acting skills. He’s           I’m pretty angry, like that grandpa who’s                                                                                                                    attracted legions of hopeful stars.       “I used to be nauseous, and Julie
Clause 2” has the makings of another                Allen said the sequel took so long             playing the villain, the hero, this amazing      always griping and moaning and attacking                                                                                                                       And it has.                           (Taymor, the film’s director) used to
green Christmas for Allen.                        because he did not want to churn out a tired     icon of Santa, and this Everyman character.      people, but you still like him.”                                                                                                                               Madonna began talking about her       say, ‘it looks terrible. It really looks
  “That would certainly please everybody          knockoff.                                        He breaks your heart, he makes you laugh.          His comic sensibilities developed amid                                                                                                                     desire to play Kahlo in 1990. Laura     like you don’t know how.’ So I
that’s relying on me to make their living,”         “You don’t make a sequel,” Allen said.         He’s such a simple actor who moves you           adversity, including the death of his father in                                                                                                   AP Photo   San Giacomo, only a couple of           would practice and practice, until I
Allen, 49, said in an interview. “I don’t rely    “You make an independent film that’s like        based on how honest he can be.”                  a car crash when Allen was a boy and a 28-        Actors Tim Allen, right, as Santa Claus, and David Krumholtz, as Bernard, appear in a scene                years removed from “sex, lies, and      got hooked.”
on that, the box-office part of it. It’s hard     an alias. It relates to the original but isn’t     While toy Santa becomes a bit menacing,        month prison term in the early 1980s for          from “The Santa Clause 2.”                                                                                 videotape,” was signed in 1992 to
enough to be in this business without             really anything like the original.”              the movie still landed the family-friendly G     selling drugs.

To top