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As a fan of actor Clayton Rohner, it is a rare treat to get to see a film where he has the lead. It was a particularly daunting task to locate this little known Spanish film, which seems to have flown under the radar for years. After seeing it, there was good reason for that as all involved probably wished it stayed unknown.
A "comedy" set in Spain, the film has precious little to recommend it and few laughs to be had. Rohner is cast as an amateur American agent whose job is to safely act as courier for a briefcase of secret documents hand-cuffed to his wrist. Whilst getting ready to step into the shower, a deadly attempt to steal the briefcase goes awry sending our desperate young hero on a madcap chase throughout Spain while still in the buff. The set-up definitely has promise for slapstick, but that is if the writing and/or direction were spirited enough to exploit the comedy in the situation...they are not.
If the laughs are few and far between, the action sequences are even more anemic. While there is some amusement in watching a character completely out of his element, the film never really taps into any belly laughs or thrills. The film seems to think the set-up alone is hilarious enough to carry the entire film. When it tries to integrate some other flourishes, it fails miserably. It is depressing to see a veteran like Roddy McDowell in this mess (hope he was well paid!), but Anthony Perkins role as a weirdo more mechanized than human is even more disheartening. And latter moments set at a male strip club complete with the mustachioed assassin disguised as a woman and a cadre of stereotypically swishy gay strippers come close to hitting rock bottom.
Cristina Piaget is pretty as the love interest, but does not have much to do. Juan Carlos Martin has some amusing moments as a philandering soldier that gets caught up in the misadventure, but they are entirely too brief to compensate for the black hole of the rest of the film. Rohner is a likable leading man even under these strained circumstances, but the film may have benefited from a different lead, as noted below.
The film could also have succeeded as a guilty pleasure. One would think that there would have to be some degree of titillation with having a handsome guy spend the majority of the film running around naked in public, but the film blunders on that front as well. Aside from a blink and you'll miss it butt shot from Rohner, everything is filmed to keep his modesty intact, thanks to either the ubiquitous briefcase or the other foreground objects a la Austin Powers. What can one say when co-star Martin has a more satisfying nude scene than the leading man, who is "naked" throughout the whole film? Worse, Rohner spends much of that time looking ill-at-ease and uncomfortable, but it seems that it is the actor rather than his character having these feelings. It seems strange that the filmmakers would opt for an American actor who appears uncomfortable with nudity for a role that so obviously required it, instead of using a more free-spirited European actor who could finesse an American accent. Or maybe the fault lies solely with the director and not the actor. Either way, it is yet another failure in this irritating misfire that becomes one of those films that need to be seen to be believed as to how bad they are.
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