Hohum (even with Depp and Brando)
Johnny D., how could you do this to us, after such an enthralling
performance in Ed Wood? Oh, well, it's probably not your fault.
When a dreadful script is floating along with bad direction and
nothing to back it up except good photography, even two
exceptional actors cannot manage to save the day. Of course J.D.
lets those seductive tones roll off his tongue and does his
sexiest in such scenes as the dinner table seduction, but the
envelope of this ridiculous comedy seems to smother everything
It seems as if director Jeremy Leven couldn't make
up his mind what style to choose, or perhaps didn't have a mind
to choose a style at all. As Don Juan, Depp doesn't seem to know
how to combine a comic character with a sensual lover and,
although this is not an easy task, it looks as if the director
didn't know how to go about it either. It might have been better
to remember that, in real time (as opposed to "reel" time), Depp
is the kind of lover who marries so quickly that there is no time
Marlon Brando gives a fine performance, but,
unfortunately, the Actor's Studio pulse seems to pervade this
romantic and naturalistic portrayal out of place within the
confines of an already torn envelope. Taking a note from Brando,
used in a different context before the film's end, it seems as
if they are all "suffering from a case of incurable romanticism,
which is highly contagious" and, to be kind, we probably all
would have been a lot better off if they all died from it before
the first day of shooting on this dud.
The original title, Don
Juan DeMarco and the Centerfold, gives a better idea of what
might have been expected if it had been made differently. Bob
Dishey, as the head shrink, seems to be the only one who knows
what this kind of comedy should really be about, and even he
gives a more supressed performance than usual.
Some nice shots, some beautiful women, some nice costumes, and
a terribly boring time. You can almost hear the cameraman
calling, "More gauze," not only for the close-ups of Faye
Dunaway, but for any shot with any woman in it. Who put this
thing together? It seems incredible that American Zoetrope and
Coppola would let such tripe escape through their production
doors. In any case, the audience here was packed with 13 to 15
year old girls (and boys) who enjoyed themselves immensely.
Maybe this is how Sinatra got started?
© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett