By Richard Winters
My Rating: 1 out of 10
4-Word Review: Love meets spontaeous combustion.
April Flowers (Michelle Meyrink) has a serious problem. Whenever she goes out on a date with a guy and gets even the slightest bit aroused by him she starts inadvertently setting off fires. Smoke comes popping out of nowhere and before her dates know what is happening their clothes are on fire or worse her date’s fancy cars. April is always sure to bring along protection and in this case that means a small fire extinguisher, but they can’t always put out all the fires that she creates. What April doesn’t know is that it is really her mother (Barbara Harris) who is setting the fires. She buys the explosive ingredients from a pyrotechnic (Wallace Shawn) secretly follows April on her dates and then at just the right moment she uses her remote control to set them off, but now April is dating Andy (William O’Leary) who is on to what the mother is doing and determined to expose her shenanigans to April.
Had this film stayed with the idea that April had some sort of ability to start these fires herself it might have worked as there are a plethora of different and interesting avenues that the story could have taken. Having the plot take the avenue that it does brings up more questions and loopholes and doesn’t really make any sense. Are we to believe that April has now grown into young adulthood and never once suspected that her mother is following her around everywhere and doing what she is doing? And what would compel a mother to torment her daughter in such a way and does she actually believe that she can go on achieving this bizarre stunt for the rest of her daughter’s life and never get caught? None of these questions get answered or even touched upon and instead we are given corny humor that becomes increasingly cartoonish as it progresses until is insulting to anyone with any resemblance of an intellect.
The movie is basically a bad example of a one-joke idea getting stretched out farther than it can or should. After the first five minutes the novelty wears off and has nowhere to go and limps along until it becomes excruciatingly boring and mindless.
Harris gives it her all and to some extent succeeds. I have always enjoyed her work no matter how bad the script, but this one really pushes it. I found it surprising why a woman who was nominated twice for the Academy Award, won several Tonys on Broadway, and was Alfred Hitchcock’s last leading lady would have to settle for this low-grade silliness simply to make a living. Unless of course screenwriter Paul Harris was in some way related to her, so she decided to do it as a favor, but that has never been confirmed.
Meyrink is appealing. She has a geeky quality, but still pretty with a good comic delivery and it is a shame that she did only one more movie after this before dropping out of the business completely. Shawn is also fun as the fire expert, but everyone else is either dull, or has no ability to act.
Someone really should have set fire to this script. Filmed on-location in Lawrence, Kansas this may be the only film in history that lists a stunt double for a cat.
My Rating: 1 out of 10
Released: February 22, 1987
Runtime: 1Hour 28Minutes
Director: Chuck Martinez
Studio: New World Pictures