- Movie Rating -

Blind Date (1987)

| March 27, 1987

Oh!  I wanted so badly for this Blind Date to work.  The pedigree is here.  It stars, and is made by, some very talented and funny people.  There’s Bruce Willis who is hilarious on ” Moonlighting.”  There’s John Larroquette, who is hilarious on “Night Court”.  There is the beautiful Kim Basinger who was great in Nine and a Half Weeks and was the only bright spot in The Man Who Loved Women.  It was co-written by David Laurer who wrote Ruthless People.  And it was directed by the legendary Blake Edwards who has created so many great films including A Shot in the Dark which I consider to be as close to perfect as a comedy can get.  And yet, this is far from that.

The problem with Blind Date is that it always seems to be in fifth gear, never downshifting to let the viewer get on board.  It’s like one of those highlight reels of classic slapstick comedy that keeps up the momentum but doesn’t stop for 95 minutes.  It’s exhausting.

The movie stars the very charming Bruce Willis as Walter Davis whose brother sets him up on a blind date with this wife’s cousin Nadia (Basinger).  She’s gorgeous, but also a little shy in a very cute way.  Walter has also been given a warning not to give her any booze because it spins her into uncontrollable and unpredictable behavior.  Thinking that his brother was joking, Walter takes the advice to his advantage.

Indeed, on the date, things go awry.  Nadia gets some champagne and on the first drink becomes amorous.  Second drink she becomes a public embarrassment.  That pain is bad enough but then Walter realizes that Nadia has an extremely jealous ex-boyfriend named David (Larroquette) and keeps interrupting the date by either trying to assault Walter or run him down with this car.

This leads to a downward spiral of insane slapstick and embarrassment.  Nadia gets David fired, his car is destroyed, Walter gets arrested and later he has David at gunpoint where he forces the man to moonwalk.  Meanwhile, of course, Walter and Nadia are falling in love.

Okay, so this would seem like prime territory for Blake Edwards.  He made 10 and Micky + Maude and The Party, all films that show his gift for wringing laughs out of public embarrassment.  The difference between those films and Blind Date is that those films had a beating heart.  There was an emotional core underneath that pulled us through.  This film is all construction, destruction but no real payoff.  We can already tell that Walter and Nadia are going to end up together, but there’s no real conflict in getting there.  Their union at the end feels more like an afterthought without the benefit of having been earned.

If I sound like I’m over-analyzing it’s because I know what to look for from Blake Edwards.  There’s a certain style, a certain manner, a certain sense of craftsmanship that makes his slapstick more than just a physical exercise.  Without it, it becomes a lot of screaming and noise and frustration and crashing.  That’s what this film is, and I’m sorry to have to say that.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy