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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 12.5%
Average: 6.25%
Pretty Bad: 6.25%
Total Crap75%

1 review, 10 user ratings

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Who's That Girl?
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by Scott Weinberg

"What's That Stench?"
1 stars

More a vehicle for Madonna's then-burgeoning popularity than a well-crafted and professional-looking movie of any kind, Who's That Girl? is a special kind of awful. And that's also taking into account the fact that Madonna also starred in Shanghai Surprise, Body of Evidence, Dangerous Game, and Swept Away. As a singer and a pop culture icon, I've got no problems whatsoever with Ms. Madonna. As far as movies go, well, that's another story entirely.

You'd have to search far and wide to find a modern-day "screwball" comedy that's as flat, forced, and helplessly amateurish as Who's That Girl? And I'm not just Madonna-bashing, although her performance is truly grating, when I say that WTG? is one of the very worst flicks of the mid-1980s.

Desperately cribbing from the 1938 comedy classic known as Bringing Up Baby, James Foley's Who's That Girl? probably began its life inside the typewriter of a screenwriter who was hoping to do a modernized version of those classic screwball comedies of the 1930s and '40s.

But somewhere along the way, possibly when the new superstar Madonna got involved, the flick turned out to be a cardboard farce laden with horrible technical merits, outstandingly limp wannabe-banter, and a series of gags so insipid you simply won't believe it. (There's a subplot involving a kidnapped bridal party that's as desperate as it is witless.)

The basic plot is that Nikki Finn (Madonna, here brandishing a Betty Boop-ish mega-squeak that bores into your eardrums like acid) is an ex-con who's out to clear her name. Louden Trott is a stuffy rich lawyer who's engaged to his boss' spoiled daughter, but first has to deliver the brassy ex-con to the train station. And he also has to deliver a giant feline to a fancy client. Wackiness tries to ensue as the nerdy Louden and the "free-spirited" (although some might say "certifiably retarded") Nikki trip all over their combined plot threads.

Likable character actor Griffin Dunne, who probably snagged this gig thanks to his hilariously stressed-out performance in Scorsese's After Hours, seems a little confused and more than a little bored by the proceedings. The actor spits out his lines like he can't wait for someone to yell "cut," well aware that he's not required to be anything more than Madonna's blustery straight-man.

Who's That Girl? was written by Andrew Smith (who'd go on to never write another movie) and Ken Finkleman (yes, the man who gave you Grease 2, Head Office, and Airplane 2: The Sequel), and directed by James Foley. This was Foley's third film after Reckless (1984) and At Close Range (1986), and I'd be willing to bet my DVD collection that Mr. Foley was brought in at the very last second to shoot this thing. Also, this patently painful flick marks the first and last time that James Foley would ever tackle comedy. And the reasons why are right up there on the screen.

(© Review reprinted from DVDTalk, with permission from the author (me) and the DVDT management. For the full DVD specs on this particular movie, please visit and get friendly with the search bar.)

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originally posted: 02/15/06 00:46:41
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User Comments

12/18/09 Jeff Wilder Memo to Madonna: Please stick to singing, 1 stars
4/24/07 David Pollastrini I saw it but have no memory of it so it must have sucked 1 stars
4/06/06 Troy M. Grzych Classic 80's and of all of Madonna's films, it's the best. 4 stars
2/20/06 badgirlx i loved it. yes she was a little too squeaky, but it was so funny' i thought. 4 stars
10/19/03 JohnnyXXX It was so bad that I wanna poke my eyes out!!!! 1 stars
7/22/03 Monster W. Kung As childish and inept as you'd expect. 1 stars
5/10/03 Dr. Isaksson Betty Boop has more range than Madonna in this "romantic comedy with a twist" My ass. 2 stars
5/07/03 mr. Pink Awful now, but still i liked this when i was seven years old or so... 3 stars
5/06/03 Jack Sommersby Foley was a moron for doing this as a favor for his "At Close Range" star Sean Penn. 1 stars
4/30/03 Charles Tatum What? "Swept Away" wasn't a fluke? Madonna can't do comedy? 1 stars
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  07-Aug-1987 (PG)
  DVD: 14-Feb-2006



Directed by
  James Foley

Written by
  Andrew Smith
  Ken Finkleman

  Griffin Dunne
  Haviland Morris
  John McMartin
  Bibi Besch
  John Mills

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