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MOVIE REVIEW : 'Look Who's Talking' Series Goes to Dogs

November 05, 1993|PETER RAINER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Look Who's Talking Now" (citywide) is an early November release but it's all about Christmas cheer. As a preemptive strike on the Christmas movie trade, it's cheerily inconsequential. In this third in the series of "Look Who's Talking" movies, it's the dogs' turn to talk. What's next? Will David Lynch take over the series and make the sofas and the garbage disposals talk?

John Travolta and Kirstie Alley re-team as James and Mollie, the couple with two twinkly kids, Mikey (David Gallagher) and Julia (Tabitha Lupien), who acquire two pooches--the scruffy Rocks (voice by Danny DeVito) and the effete poodle Daphne (voice by Diane Keaton). James is now a well-paid pilot for the curvy president (Lysette Anthony) of an international cosmetics firm; Mollie works as an elf for a department-store Santa.

Mollie can't stand the family's new dogs, one of which, Daphne, was a present from the cosmetics prez. The dialogue between Rocks and Daphne is deliberately corny Lady and the Tramp stuff, but it beats most of the adult dialogue. (DeVito's vocal cords are so gratingly distinctive that, after a while, you just think of Rocks as DeVito, not as DeVito's voice.) Despite the talking-dog gimmick, the enterprise is a continuation of the mood of the first two films in the series: It's all about the joys of family.

The reason that the film (rated PG-13 for off-color dialogue) is borderline pleasant is because, even more than in the first two films, Travolta and Alley are a marvelous team. They're both such remarkably gifted comic actors that they manage to have a good time even though they're way too talented for this taffeta. They prove that you can glide through a retread like this and still retain your dignity as an actor.

Now how about teaming Travolta and Alley in a romantic comedy that's really about something?

'Look Who's Talking Now'

John Travolta: James

Kirstie Alley: Mollie

Lysette Anthony: Samantha D'Bonne

Olympia Dukakis: Mom

A TriStar Pictures presentation of a Jonathan D. Krane production. Director Tom Ropelewski. Producer Krane. Executive producer Leslie Dixon. Screenplay Ropelewski and Leslie Dixon. Cinematographer Oliver Stapleton. Editors Michael A. Stevenson and Harry Hitner. Music William Ross. Production design Michael Bolton. Set decorator Jim Erickson. Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes.

MPAA-rated PG-13 (for off-color dialogue).

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