Bill Cosby jumped the gun on the critics by publicly bad-mouthing his own "Leonard Part 6." But--as early reviews pointed out--it's not as if the Cos didn't have an awful lot to do creatively with the pic, which Columbia's just released. After all, he produced and wrote the story on which the script's based.
(We'll hazard a synopsis: Former secret service agent Cos un-retires because of a sinister plot concocted by a villainess to turn the world's animals into people-killers. Attacks follow by lobsters, frogs, fish, et al.)
We surveyed the reviews of local critics, and it was tough to find a kind word about "L6." The L.A. Daily News' Michael Healy tried to look on the bright side--sort of: "The only good thing about 'Leonard Part 6' is that it all but assures there will not be a Leonard Part 7." As for trying to explain the storyline, it "drains one's will to live almost as severely as viewing the movie does."
The pic's extensive product placements also got trashed (in particular, there are lotsa Cokes on view--since Coke is the parent company of Columbia). "What's truly appalling about 'Leonard' is the way that Cosby continues to exploit his image and position to sell, sell, sell--everything in sight," wrote the Orange County Register's Jim Emerson.
Copley's L.A. reviewer, Jerry Roberts, got to the point: "This film stinks." And: "That this film would be contemptible by Soupy Sales standards only reinforces the notion that Cosby has dipped to disastrous levels."
"Even die-hard fans of 'The Cosby Show' will think twice about subjecting themselves to this witless and overinflated vanity production," wrote the Hollywood Reporter's Kyle Counts. "Color 'Leonard' a quick yuletide casualty."
And Todd McCarthy at Daily Variety opined, "Perhaps no studio deserves two 'Ishtars' in a single year, but Columbia has turned the trick with 'Leonard Part 6.' "
Our own Kevin Thomas also swiped mean: "More than anything else, 'Leonard' is a smug, tedious exercise in self-indulgence, and it's easy to understand former Columbia production head David Puttnam's reported lack of enthusiasm for the project."
Thomas mentioned that early on in the pic, a character explains the film's curious title by telling us that Leonard's five previous adventures had been "confiscated for reasons of security."
Quipped Thomas: "Too bad they let this one out."