Jack Bauer, a workaholic businessman, accidentally gets involved in a case of child kidnapping when he returns a doll found in the subway.Jack Bauer, a workaholic businessman, accidentally gets involved in a case of child kidnapping when he returns a doll found in the subway.Jack Bauer, a workaholic businessman, accidentally gets involved in a case of child kidnapping when he returns a doll found in the subway.
And yet, there is something deeply irritating about the whole affair that made it worth the watching time invested. The main character is oddly believable as a living doormat. I have to agree with other commentators that Robert Urich delivers a stunning performance. The man plays a big, intelligent fellow, a former football pro and a successful businessman, but people don't hesitate a second to walk right over him. The man seems to be outright plagued by an unhealthy kindness and, above all, an over developed sense of responsibility.
When a business partner sets an important meeting at a date when he is supposed to go on a long promised trip with his girlfriend he cancels the trip. When he wants to pass a found doll to a traffic cop who does not accept it, he takes it with him. When he tells his secretary she should send the doll to its owner by mail, the secretary refuses flat out and virtually orders him (her boss) to deliver it personally and he does it. The result: he gets nearly lynched as a supposed kidnapper and then beaten up time and time again. This becomes all the more grotesque as the guy's wardrobe seems to consist only of two ill fitting business suits which become more and more tattered and dirty as the story moves along. He never even removes his tie! It is very odd and slightly surreal.
The man is coerced into helping to find a girl who disappeared by the girl's single mother, a waitress. She transfers part of her guilt and responsibility over to that stranger she had never met before and who has nothing to do at all with the kidnapping. And he accepts the transfer. This is beautifully shown in the scene where he stays in the woman's apartment because she can't sleep. She leans against him and falls asleep at last. In the morning they both awake, the woman refreshed the man (unshaven, in creased business suit and limp tie) with a numb side against which the woman had leaned. But the masochistic climax is definitely the moment when the woman storms into a restaurant where the afore mentioned important business meeting takes place and tells the guy to go with him. He tells her he will, when the meeting is over. But for her it cannot be in a few minutes, it has to be RIGHT NOW. The urgency is clearly irrational but he dithers and dithers and then obeys. Oh, it was hard to bear.
The bottom line: This movie shows that different genders have different agendas and priorities and how not to deal with that issue. The rather downbeat ending is very telling in that aspect.
- Dec 3, 2008