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Alarmist, The

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 11/07/98 02:54:08

"Arquette's rule, but Dave needs some range or he's a 90's Corey."
3 stars (Average)

What the heck is it with David Arquette? It looks like he's about to twitch so hard his eyes are gonna pop out of their sockets. It's like he has a turd poking through and doesn't want anyone to know about it.

Sorry to be brash, but seriously, I kept finding myself tilting my head and looking at him in "amused dog" mode during The Alarmist. It was baffling.

So, okay, the movie. The Alarmist. Arquette is a decent guy who sells alarm systems to suburban folks. He's pretty good at it because, well, he's a dork and people take pity on him.

His boss (Stanley Tucci) loves his work. A little too much. In the name of fostering new business by kicking in the doors of newly alarmed homes and setting them off (the neighbors all order systems as a result), the boss goes further than Arquette's character is prepared to go along with.

Meanwhile, a single mom customer (Kate Capshaw) that Arquette has fallen in love with, is murdered (along with her son, who is played extremely damn well by Ryan Reynolds) and Arquette assumes the crime has been committed by his break-in happy boss.

This is an enigmatic little flick with flashes of brilliance. It's characters are WAY human, even overly human. But my biggest gripe about it is Arquette. He's trying so hard to make his character real that he comes out with an annoying, facially ticking, squinting dumbass that you can't work out at all. And this isn't the first time he's done this type of guy. In fact, he's never done anything but.

It killed for me, what should have been a dark social commentary on paranoia and suburban fear.

Tucci is awesome, but he's been indie king for the last year now so you expect that. Capshaw is fine, Ryan Reynolds is hilarious and Mary McCormack ain't no foo'.

This production looks a little underdone to me. It has some fine points, but it has some reeeal slow points. Take Arquette out of the fray and you have a decent enough movie. With Arquette it's a stretch. Do it in the dollar theatre for sure. Video? Okay. Cineplex for seven bucks? I want to say yes, but I can't. Just not dark enough, just not good enough. Sorry Courteney.

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