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