''Curly Sue'' is not one of John Hughes' best works. It is not on the same low level as ''Career Opportunities,'' but it is never as good as ''Home Alone.''
Written, directed and produced by Hughes, the man who also gave us ''The Breakfast Club'' and ''Pretty in Pink,'' ''Curly Sue'' may have been intended as a companion piece to ''Home Alone,'' but it doesn't begin to match that film.
''Curly Sue" does have James Belushi. He is an asset to any film, but the material that has been given him is lightweight.
''Curly Sue'' has a few laughs, but that's about it. It is otherwise listless and a bit formless.
Belushi plays a street person, a self-appointed guardian to a 9-year-old girl who had been left in his care after a one-night stand.
''Father'' and ''daughter'' make it by conning all the people they can, and this is not necessarily funny.
Some critics thought it callous of the producers to use street people as a source of fun, to minimize their problems, but it may have been more callous to present them as con people who stage elaborate but not necessarily amusing scams. You wouldn't want to be a victim of one of these ploys.
Kelly Lynch is the super-successful lawyer who is gulled by the pair. In time, she falls in love with Bill Dancer (Belushi), who cleans up his act and becomes a part of the establishment.
Lynch is exceptionally attractive, but the character she plays is more simple-minded than she is sympathetic.
Alisan Porter plays the little girl. She is certainly cute enough, but she is not cute not enough to make anything of the material she is given. At one point, she emits porcine noises at the dinner table, something that struck the children in the audience as very funny, but then this is always a sure thing with kids.
''Curly Sue'' has no toilet humor. It has that much in its favor. Unfortunately, it has little else. Even the sight gags don't work. A lot of punches are thrown, but The Three Stooges did all this much better.
It is only fair to report that some members of the preview audience thought the film amusing.
9- ''Curly Sue'' is showing at local houses.
* A street person and the 9-year-old girl in his care meet a successful female lawyer who takes to the pair.
CAST: James Belushi, Kelly Lynch, Alisan Porter.
DIRECTOR: John Hughes
RATING: PG (language)
( RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes