The third time around, no one (even the dogs) really cares 'Who's Talking Now'

November 06, 1993|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Film Critic

A week or so back, Newsweek had an interesting cover story postulating that the inner lives of dogs were actually quite intense, fraught with love and hate and lust and betrayal. But clearly the makers of "Look Who's Talking Now!" hadn't seen it: they manage to make their dogs as dreary as . . . John Travolta.

This third progeny of one of the genuine fluke hits of the '80s, moves the voice-over comedy stylings out of the mouths of babes -- who are now old enough to talk for themselves, though not very interestingly -- and into the mouths of dogs.

Danny DeVito's vocals represent the point of view of Rocks, the scruffy mutt that Travolta brings home to Mikey, and Diane Keaton, who doesn't have much of a distinctive voice anyhow, gives words to Daphne, the poodle who arrives from another segment of the movie.

This may be a first: a live action movie that imitates a cartoon. Remember the great Disney mid-50s hit "The Lady and the Tramp." Well, this isn't nearly as good.

But the surprise of the picture is how seldom the dogs actually appear in it. The majority of the film spends its time observing the mild domestic difficulties of Kirstie Alley and Travolta who may be the two most boring people on the planet. The audience is more interesting than they are.

The nut of the story: She's lost her job, he's got a new one and his boss has sexual designs on him, even though he now weighs 275 pounds and looks like matzo ball.

The boss is played by Lysette Anthony in a state of ludicrous sexual heat which is so meltingly intense it all but fries the poor Travolta, who is reduced in the face of it to whimpering ninniness. The movie makes a jerk out of him.

As for Alley, there seems to be more of her than before. I'm not saying she's fat now, just that see seems somehow wider and taller and huger. I think she's inflating. It's as if she's prepping for her next big gig -- as a float in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

MOVIE REVIEW

"Look Who's Talking Now!"

Starring John Travolta and Kirstie Alley

Directed by Tom Ropelewski

Released by TriStar

Rated PG

... **

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