Friday, October 12, 2012

My Big Fat Video Nightmare: "Second Sight" (1989)

Meet my new mortal enemy- Tom Schulman. This man wrote and directed the wretched "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag," and his name also appears in the writing credit for this stinkeroo. I guess being seriously unfunny takes practice.

Before Joel Zwick bored us with the average "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," he shot this junk. John Larroquette is Wills, a former cop who works with psychic Bobby McGee (Bronson Pinchot) and Ph.D. Preston (Stuart Pankin) to help solve criminal cases. Before you get too excited, no one makes any obvious "Me and Bobby McGee" jokes. Boston Cardinal O'Hara (William Prince) and Bobby's love interest Maria (Marisol Massey) are kidnapped, and the psychic detective agency Second Sight are on the case. Wills has run-ins with cute nun Sister Elizabeth (Bess Armstrong, the best thing here), and Preston is married, which means everybody has a girlfriend to end up with in the final shot.

The investigation into the cardinal's disappearance is about as challenging as an episode of "Blue's Clues." The audience is punished with the exact same routine throughout the film. Bobby does something off the wall and crazy (trying to be funny), Preston takes pictures and identifies the psychic phenomenon (trying to be funny), and Wills slumps and complains and mopes (trying to be funny). How these three ended up together is not important. Elaborating on how Bobby got his psychic powers after getting struck by lightning is not important. How Preston's wife kept winning prizes after getting lottery numbers from a sleeping Bobby without Preston finding out is not important. With all these dangling plotlines, there must have been a whole lot more to this eighty five minute movie.

Maybe it is a good thing scenes were deleted, that would mean the stuff left onscreen was the good stuff. I have not found a film so devoid of laughs since the aforementioned "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag." I did not smile once, even unintentionally. Zwick's direction looks exactly like the myriad of sitcom work he has done. Larroquette merely plays his Dan Fielding character from "Night Court," Pinchot channels Balki from "Perfect Strangers," and Pankin decides to recreate Harold Ramis from the "Ghostbusters" films. Everyone mugs and grimaces, but no one can squeeze a chuckle out of this lame script. The special effects are awful, animated hand drawn glowing lines and flashing blue lights made me believe I was witnessing a K-Mart coloring contest live from hell.

I remember when this film came out years ago, and how badly it did. I wish I had never laid first sight on this stupid film. Let's leave "Second Sight" unseen. (*) out of five stars.