This Spade work has its dirt, but hold off on the shovel

Movie review

April 23, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

"Lost and Found" isn't exactly the film you'd expect from David Spade, whose picture appears in the dictionary alongside the word "smarmy." That's bad news for fans of Spade's TV work on "Saturday Night Live" and (especially) "Just Shoot Me," but it makes this film a lot more watchable than it could be.

Not that "Lost and Found" is some sort of minor masterpiece. Any movie that resorts to having a character dig through dog feces for yucks (not to mention the tired anti-convention of having old people talk dirty) is never going to make a must-see list. But by toning down Spade's insufferable persona, the filmmakers have actually come up with an enjoyable piece of lightweight fluff that, when it isn't trying to gross you out, is actually endearing.

Spade's character, a down-on-his-luck restaurant owner desperate for a break, spends the entire film trying to impress his beautiful next-door neighbor, the ceaselessly enchanting Sophie Marceau. Wanting her to see him in the best light possible, he settles on a bizarre plan to kidnap her dog, enabling him to spend time with her while they look for the little guy and be a hero when he finds him.

It's one of the oldest cliches in the movies, the out-of-his-league guy chasing after the girl. And it's been done much better; John Hughes made something of a career out of it. But thanks to Spade's softened persona (he's still a wiseacre, but not irredeemably so) and some moments of unexpected charm (including a hilarious lip sync to Neil Diamond), "Lost and Found" marginally deserves to be more found than lost.

`Lost and Found'

Starring David Spade, Sophie Marceau

Directed by Jeff Pollack

Released by Warner Bros.

Running time: 100 minutes

Rating: PG-13 (language, suggested sexuality)

Sun score: * *

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