The Austin Chronicle

Look Who's Talking Now!

Rated PG-13, 96 min. Directed by Steve Ropelewski. Starring John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Olympia Dukakis, Lysette Anthony, David Gallagher, Tabitha Lupien.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Nov. 12, 1993

Although Tim Burton had nothing to do with it, this is certainly a nightmare before Christmas. Travolta and Alley reprise their roles as good-natured, all-American parents to a brood that now includes (the producers having exhausted all previous possibilities, one must assume) a pair of canines whose internal thought processes are revealed to us courtesy of Danny DeVito and Diane Keaton (!). As the story goes, cabbie turned airline pilot Travolta has been hired on as a private flyboy by fetching Lysette Anthony, a predatory cosmetics company CEO who desires perhaps a bit more than Travolta's airborne motor skills. The central conceit of the film -- that this stunning, powerful siren would ever dream of seducing this obnoxious, wisecracking mensch -- is patently absurd to begin with. He's an NYC cabbie, for God's sake, and, at the risk of disparaging cabbies the world over, it just doesn't fit. On the home front, Kirstie Alley once again displays her skills at comic hysteria and fluttery sniveling as she desperately worries about the state of her marriage and tries to take care of her kids and the two dogs (DeVito's a streetwise mutt, Keaton a Park Avenue poodle) threatening to crowd her out of her family's tiny apartment. Not to mention the fact that Christmas is rapidly approaching, and daddy's (regretfully) off in St. Tropez, or some such place. The amazing thing in Ropelewski's film is just how much of this lowest-common-denominator pabulum has been recycled from the foul spillage of the previous two films. Once again, needlessly, we're treated to lengthy scenes of the family singing and clowning about with treacly plasticity, fantasizing, dreaming, whining, mewling... it's all too much, grating on your nerves and leaving you desperately in need of a healthy dose of cinematic sanity. Or, at the very least, genuine humor.

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.