1/8/17

THE MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE - REVIEW


Tom Hanks stars in this 1985 comedy about a random guy who is used as a pawn by the CIA in the middle of some tit-for-that infighting. A remake of French spy farce The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe starring Pierre Richard, this was yet another Hollywood attempt at adapting one of Francis Veber's most popular films.

The general plot is the same as in the original except Tom Hanks' character isn't quite as clumsy or as much fun as Pierre Richard's Fran├žois Perrin. There's no consistency in terms of the slapstick because Richard (Hanks) is portrayed as being just a normal guy whereas in the original, that character was very much an Inspector Clouseau-esque idiot. We know Tom Hanks can do slapstick really well from the likes of The Burbs or The Money Pit so it must have been a conscious decision to dumb down that character, which simply doesn't work since that's replaced with no real personality traits. The plot is also told with little style or energy and, while it's a simple story, it's made almost hard to follow because the tone and the writing are slightly off throughout. The main thing that brings some laughs to the table, apart from a couple of clever sequences lifted directly from the original, is Jim Belushi as Richard's friend Morris who is literally driven insane by what's going on.

Similarly to The Toy, this movie works as just an average, forgettable American comedy with an interesting concept at its heart but, as a remake, it fails to capture what made the original funny and unique. That said, the disastrous concert, the embarrassing flirting scene with Lori Singer's spy, the aftermath of Richard's apartment being hastily repaired after a thorough search all work and Hanks, even in a lesser role, is always charming. Carrie Fisher is also in this movie as Morris' unfaithful wife who is secretly having an affair with Richard and she is very good even if her character deserved more screen-time. The Man With One Red Shoe is a harmless enough flick with some admittedly fun moments and a likeable cast but it needed to be more creative and do something beyond just repeating what the original film did minus some key elements.

While not one of Hanks' best, fans of the actor should enjoy this one fine. As far as comedies go, this is in no way a must-see and it's no wonder why it's often forgotten. For a more entertaining and funnier French remake try Three Fugitives or, better still, just watch the original film.

Underwhelming.

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