EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|ONE GOOD COP (director/writer: Heywood Gould; cinematographer: Ralf Bode; editor: Richard Marks; music: David Foster/William Ross; cast: Michael Keaton (Artie Lewis), Rene Russo (Rita Lewis), Anthony LaPaglia (Stevie Diroma), Kevin Conway (Lieut. Danny Quinn), Rachel Ticotin (Grace), Tony Plana (Beniamino), Benjamin Bratt (Felix), Charlayne Woodard (Cheryl Clark), Grace Johnston (Marian Diroma), Rhea Silver-Smith (Barbara Diroma), Blair Swanson (Carol Diroma), Vondie Curtis Hall (Father Wills); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Laurence Mark; Hollywood Pictures and Buena Vista Pictures; 1991)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Director Heywood Gould
("Trial by Jury"/"Double Bang"), a former police reporter of the NY
Post, flavors this mundane cop drama in a distasteful moralistic way.
The trite dialogue (it has one line tell us, as if we didn't know:
"Life ain't easy for orphans") and
the manipulative story do the film in. It was a crowd pleaser that's
meant for the viewer to look at things only from the cop's POV, even if
the lawman has to break the law to carry out his good deeds. That left
me confused about what message about the law I was supposed to take
away from this downbeat pic with a supposedly happy ending, that was
executed in such a leaden way and the acting was so stiff. In Britain,
it went straight to video.
Honest hero NYC cop Artie
Lewis (Michael Keaton) is happily married to fashion designer Rita (Rene
Russo), and the childless couple live in a cramped city apartment.
Artie's partner is Stevie
Diroma (Anthony LaPaglia), a widower with three small daughters (Grace
Johnston, Rhea Silver-Smith, and Blair Swanson). During a hostage
rescue situation, Steve is afraid the drug-crazed gun-wielder will kill
his wife and kids that he's holding hostage and charges him. It results
in Steve killed in action and Artie seeking to adopt his three cuties.
What follows are hassles from the Child Welfare Services, who refuse to
let the caring couple adopt all three kids because their digs are too
small. The pressed for cash cop schemes to buy a house to adopt the
kids and needs a $25,000 down payment, which leads him to go astray and
rob a scummy drug dealer (Tony Plana)--someone who in a roundabout way
is responsible for Steve's death (he sold the killer the drugs that
made him crack). Complications arise when the dealer's old lady is an
undercover cop (Rachel Ticotin), who had him set-up for a big bust that
now is not going down as anticipated and the pissed undercover cop
figures out that Artie stole the
money as a masked stick-up man that caused several deaths during the
ensuing shootout. Artie only took the money needed for the house and
gave the rest of the evil guy's swag to a priest (Vondie
Curtis Hall) running an
orphanage. We're now faced with Artie being kicked off the force and
facing criminal charges, which according to this filmmaker seems like
Keaton is a likable and capable actor, but has a hard time veering from Batman to Mr. Mom in this gritty pic that's unfortunately unconvincing and superficial. One Good Cop makes for a schmaltzy banal pic as is, but if all those bogus sentimental domestic scenes were junked and it was just screened as a straight urban thriller it would have worked out fine as another routine buddy cop flick.
REVIEWED ON 7/18/2010 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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