Cindy can't act, but who cares? fTC

November 04, 1995|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC

In "Fair Game," Cindy Crawford proves that she can't act.

So? What's wrong with that? I have no problem with that.

The movie is one long action sequence with such non-essentials as dialogue, character, plot and tone neatly excised to keep everybody's embarrassment to a minimum. It's mainly a study in abstract design that reduces the supermodel to angular planes, geometric shapes and landscape architecture, as the filmmakers keep trying to come up with yet more ways to get Cindy mussed, bruised, stripped, drenched or running perkily down the beach sans support garments.

The plot -- or should that be "plot"? -- follows as Cindy, playing a Miami family law attorney, suddenly and bafflingly becomes the quarry of a supremely well-equipped ex-KGB hit team, a team so proficient it can track her instantly through credit card transactions, cellular phone calls, even pizza deliveries. Yeah, right, and in 70 years' rule in Russia the same guys couldn't even get the phones to work or the water to stay hot.

Anyhow, as things and people keep exploding around her, she bonds with a Miami homicide detective played by William Baldwin, another model turned actor, and he's even more wooden and unconvincing than she is.

That's the movie: these two impossibly beautiful young people dodging explosions, gunfire, careening cars and the script for about 90 trim minutes. It feels like a preview for a movie yet to come; I still don't believe I've actually seen it.

The action pyrotechnics are of the absurdly theatricalized variety rather than out of any school of naturalism, and so they provide a campy air of fantasy. Extraordinary stunt work and sublimely slick editing give it a lot more punch than something so weightless should have.

Some marginal improvements might have been possible. For one thing, how does the callow Baldwin turn out to be such a super warrior? He makes the Delta Force look like liberals picketing a gun shop. Wouldn't some back story, to give his character some weight, have helped? You know, a year in 'Nam, a tour with Seal Team Six, 13 years as a film critic, that sort of thing?

But the villains are very nicely done, with the lugubrious Steven Berkoff -- who's made a fancy living, thanks, playing Eurotrash aristos with H&K automatics in many a film of this ilk -- as the head nasty and a bunch of mixed-gender walnut faces as his troopers, all of whom wear black leather coats as they drive through Miami's tropical torpor. How could they be Russians if they didn't have black leather coats?

And Cindy. Oh, Cindy, Cindy, Cindy. No, she can't really act, but under that extraordinary beauty, the camera sees something that it refuses to recognize in other world-class models. And that's a kind of fundamental decency. She seems almost embarrassed by the good fortune of having a face in a jillion. There's no arrogance or remoteness. Under it all, she seems like a good Joe.

'Fair Game'

Starring Cindy Crawford and William Baldwin

Directed by Andrew Sipes

Released by Warner Bros.

Rated R (violence, nudity, sexual innuendo)

** 1/2

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