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(This review has some minor plot spoilers, but nothing much)
I heard about this movie years ago. Having seen and absolutely loving the horror film 'Popcorn,' I was very interested to see a movie starring Tom Villard that was a sci-fi comedy. But the movie was nowhere to be found. Years later, I bought the film online and have finally watched it. Was it worth the wait? Was it as good as I hoped it would be? No. It wasn't a bad movie, either. It's a curiosity to anyone that might find the premise neat.
Villard plays Dick Kendred, a frustrated science fiction writer. He has taken his most recent book to various publishers with the same result: No deal. In fact, his most recent attempt found publisher Jack Carter telling him that his work was too serious and missing the aspect science fiction writers crave: scantily-clad women. (I'd like to give filmmakers a brief note: If you are going to cast comedian Jack Carter in your movie, don't waste him on one brief scene and not have him deliver at least one joke, like in 1998's 'The Modern Adventures of Tom Sawyer'). Confused, Dick goes home to console with his girlfriend Susan Dey. However, he doesn't get much help here, since Dey is too focused on her job. In hopes of creating something better, Villard decides to find a room to rent where he can be alone and at peace. Dey gets him a room in the home of her friend Sheila and Sheila's daughter Haley. But the two women prove to be the worst distractions of all, constantly hitting on him behind each others' backs.
Does this sound like a funny situation comedy? Sadly, it is not. The biggest problem is that Dick doesn't do what he should to make this funny, and that is resist the two women. He too easily gives in to their advances and forgets Dey exists, which makes us unsympathetic to his struggles and wish the movie to end. When the movie does end, you are left half depressed at the whole situation. Really, if he would have not so easily have given in to infidelity I would love this film. There is one really big highlight, though. Between Dick's women issues and occasional hallucinations (which aren't clever enough to be amusing), we are treated to visual glimpses of Dick's current science fiction book. These segments follow the book's hero, David Clennon, as he roams a strange desert planet and must tackle obstacles like little alien parasites and evil alien vixens. One wishes that the bulk of the movie would follow Clennon and only occasionally revisit Dick and his writer's cramp.
Tom Villard died in 1994, so we'll never know just what he could have accomplished. I'll always have the wonderful 'Popcorn' to enjoy and the distant memory of this should-have-been-great comedy to remember him by. Zantara's score: 6 out of 10.
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