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Vibes
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by Jack Sommersby

"Delivers on Its Very Bad 'Vibes'"
1 stars

A deserved box office bomb that should have gone straight to video.

The enormously successful screenwriting team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel have given us such excellent comedic fare by the likes of 1982's Night Shift, 1984's Splash and 1986's Gung Ho, all of which were directed by Ron Howard, all of which contained memorable characters, priceless dialogue, and inventive situations. I guess everyone's entitled to a bad day, because their latest effort is the Cyndi Lauper star vehicle Vibes, and it's dreadful - shockingly bad, in fact, coming from two experts who've proven themselves aces at tickling our funny bone. (Not to be indelicate, but did they undergo frontal lobotomies before starting on this DOA script?) The story is simple: two New York psychics, Lauper's Sylvia, who can predict someone's actions and winners at the racetrack, and Jeff Goldblum's Nick, who works as a curator at a museum who can tell from touching objects the owner's background, are paid fifty-thousand dollars by Peter Falk's conniving shyster Nick to trek high into the Ecuadorian mountains to locate a rare treasure Nick thinks is worth a fortune. Naturally, some bad guys are on their trail who want the powerful artifact too, and, whaddya know, along the way the initially bickering psychics eventually fall in love. An uninspired retread of Raiders of the Lost Ark with sprinklings of the awful The Golden Child the lame Vibes hasn't a single well-written line or amusing sight gag to its considerable discredit; the material just isn't there, and the director, Ken Kwapis, who did passable work with the children's tales The Beniker Gang and Follow that Bird, can never find the right tone and locate just where a scene's punchline should be. Kwapis was smart enough to hire two of the very best in the business in the persons of cinematographer John Bailey and composer James Horner, but because the camera never seems to be in the right place and the music sounds too serious for this genre, their efforts are practically for naught. And the actors are of little help. Both Goldblum and Falk are coasting and try relying on past mannerisms that have long lost their freshness, and while pop singer Lauper is a more agreeable screen performer than the vapid Madonna she's not any more of an actress. Vibes is a punishing one-hundred-minutes long when even half that would've been only a shade more tolerable. The only interesting contribution comes from the unfortunately-named Googy Gress, who plays an unscrupulous psychic the villains have brought along. Underacting nattily, he never pushes for effects and emerges, miraculously enough and unlike his fellow thespians, with his dignity intact.

You'd be much better off listening to Lauper's records.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=33771&reviewer=327
originally posted: 09/21/20 07:51:56
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USA
  05-Aug-1988 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Ken Kwapis

Written by
  Lowell Ganz
  Babaloo Mandel

Cast
  Cyndi Lauper
  Jeff Goldblum
  Peter Falk
  Julian Sands
  Googy Gress



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