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Movie Review : The Many Failings Of 'Getting Even'

May 20, 1986|MICHAEL WILMINGTON

As you watch "Getting Even" (citywide), you may have the eerie feeling that you're seeing the first multimillion-dollar "R" movie written entirely by 10-year-olds.

That's not so, of course--the film is too elaborate for the producers to play such an outlandish prank. But you're never quite sure.

Take the infantile character names: the hero, Tag Taggar (Edward Albert), the heroine, Paige Starson (Audrey Landers), and the villain, King Kenderson (Joe Don Baker). Tag is Dallas' "leading industrialist"--and also a martial artist, toxic-waste specialist and secret commando staging raids on Afghanistan. Paige is a "beautiful American agent." King is a jovial sadist with a ranch full of horses, dogs, surly thugs--and helicopters from which he can throw people, while laughing maniacally.

Take the dialogue: During a car chase, Tag yells at Paige, "If you get us killed, I'm never talking to you again!" At a party, when he asks if she wants to mingle, she replies, "Mingle, mingle."

Then there's the movie's jaw-dropping plot: Tag steals the world's deadliest chemical gas from the Soviets, then puts a scientist named Doc to work on a "counter-formula." Though this astounding gas is capable of depopulating the entire Southwest with a few whiffs, the multitalented multimillionaire keeps it on a shelf at his lab with just one guard--and two bozos named Max and Raoul steal it after driving up in a pickup truck.

Obviously, the only way to play material this rotten is to send it up. But if director Dwight Little was amused, he's kept it to himself. He seems to concentrate on keeping every image as bright as possible and he paces the dialogue so deliberately that not just trucks but whole convoys could drive through the pauses.

Little's also gotten terrible, or indifferent, performances from the entire cast, including such fine actors as Edward Albert (decked out here in Tom Selleck's mustache) and such sexy leading ladies as Audrey Landers. Only Joe Don Baker manages to elude catastrophe--probably through the sheer force of maniacal laughter.

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