A Man in Uniform
1993 Directed by David Wellington. Starring Tom McCamus, Brigitte Bako, David Hemblen, Kevin Tighe.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Sept. 9, 1994
McCamus is Henry, a bookish bank employee and struggling actor who manages to land a part as tough guy Officer Flanagan in the hit television show Crime Wave, an NYPD Blue knockoff that looks as cheesy as it sounds. Emboldened by his success on the show, Henry struggles to get the rest of his less-than-amazing life in running order by quitting his day job and training his roving eye on Charlie (Bako), the actress who plays his love interest on the show. When she decides they should be “just friends,” however, Henry's world begins to crumble, and he takes to wearing his cop costume out on the streets, commingling reality with his TV persona until even he can no longer tell which is which. When his estranged father passes away, and his part in the series is wrapped, he goes overboard completely, popping up at crime scenes in his regulation blues and falling in with a crooked cop (Tighe) who thinks Henry's just one of the guys. Wellington's meditation on Method Acting gone awry and television's glorification of cop shows is a hit-or-miss affair. Alternating between dark, cynical humor and a grim parable of madness, A Man in Uniform tries just a bit too hard: you can sense Wellington laboring to get his points across subtly, with humor, but it just doesn't work. Hardly an uplifting theme to begin with, the film quickly bogs down in the depressing quagmire of Henry's delusions. Multiple slow-motion exit wounds don't add much either. For his part, McCamus is excellent as Henry, three parts obsession to one part desperation, but that in itself just isn't enough to make you love A Man in Uniform.