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Movie Reviews : 'Honeymoon': Half-baked Hitchcock

January 14, 1987|KEVIN THOMAS | Times Staff Writer

Talk about lousy luck with men.

In "Honeymoon" (citywide), a tedious exercise in protracted morbidity, a Frenchwoman named Cecile (Nathalie Baye) takes off for a New York vacation with her boyfriend Michel (Richard Berry), whom customs officers promptly arrest for possessing cocaine. When her application for a visa renewal is turned down, Baye in desperation settles for a proxy marriage and--you guessed it--winds up hitched to a homicidal maniac (John Shea).

This is one of those times when mother knew best. Cecile should have listened to hers and gone back to France instead of indulging Michel, so clearly a selfish wastrel. But once past her initial fear, Cecile then also allows herself to be disarmed by Shea's obviously crazy Zack.

Directed by Patrick Jamain from a script he wrote with others, this Franco-Canadian co-production is half-baked Hitchcock that, at least in its English-language version, brings no glory to either top French stars Baye and Berry or to Shea, a fine young stage actor best known in films as Sissy Spacek's husband in "Missing." Baye has too elegant and intelligent a presence to be so easily bamboozled by these two losers, in whom we can perceive not the slightest glimmer of charm. Berry's Michel comes across only as a self-pitying whiner, and Shea overacts so consistently that he's quickly tiresome and obnoxious.

The New York exteriors, including a climax in a derelict Coney Island funhouse (which inevitably provides for a "Lady From Shanghai" homage), have a good gritty look, but then so do countless films far better than "Honeymoon" (rated R for considerable violence) shot in Manhattan streets.

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