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Written by Armando Manzanero
Performed by José 'Chombo' Silva (as Chombo Silva)
Courtesy of Gema Records
Copyright by BMG Edim, S.A. of C.V.
Authorized for Spain by Ediciones Musicales BMG Ariola, S.A. See more »
Donald Westlake deserves much better than this adaptation that Fernando Trueba and his brother David did to the book. Mr. Westlake, together with Elmore Leonard, are two of the best writers of the genre. It appears that either the adapters lost something in translation, or maybe the studio didn't let the Truebas get what they wanted to do.
The casting of Antonio Banderas in the dual role of Art/Bart presents problems because he is a quintessential Latin man, who is supposed to be a small con artist working in Florida; his accent doesn't solve this problem either. We don't believe for a moment he is this "artful dodger", let alone Art Dodge. Mr. Banderas has done better, but not here. The best sequence in the film involves Art/Bart shuttling between Liz and Betty's separate rooms, where the actor gets all the laughs.
Daryl Hannah, who plays Liz, fares better, although it's hard to imagine this brainy woman could fall for this small time con artist. Melanie Griffith doesn't have much to do, and we can be thankful for a performance where all her mannerisms are not shown. The best thing in the film is Joan Cusack, who is seen as Gloria, the art gallery assistant who steals the show from the principals. There is also a delightfully funny appearance by the late Vincent Schiavelli, who is seen as a finicky sommelier at a tony restaurant. (We kept thinking how could Art/Bart pick up the check on the two occasions when he takes Betty, first, and then Liz, to that expensive place, as he can't even pay his other bills...) In some minor roles we see Eli Wallach, Danny Aiello, and Austin Pendleton, among others.
The best thing in the film is the musical sound track by the talented Michel Camilo, who had already collaborated with Mr. Trueba in "Calle 54". He is seen at the end of the picture playing with some Latin jazz giants like Paquito D'Rivera and Cachao. One kept hoping they would have been seen more in the film.
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