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Feds

movie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Feds

Starring: Rebecca DeMornay, Mary Gross
Director: Dan Goldberg
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 82 Minutes
Release Date: October 1988
Genre: Comedy


*Also starring: Ken Marshall, Fred Dalton Thompson, Larry Cedar, James Luisi, Raymond Singer



Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

Those who have read some of my previous reviews know that I have some problems accepting words like "comedy" and "Ivan Reitman" in the same sentence. In the decade and half after GHOSTBUSTERS, his last truly funny film, Reitman was constantly failing to make any film able to produce laughter among audience. This failure was most the evident case of Hollywood creative bankruptcy associated with "high concept" films, and it wasn't limited only on Reitman's work as director. Reitman record as producer was equally unimpressive, and FEDS, 1988 comedy directed by Dan Goldberg is just another example.

The heroine of this film is Elizabeth De Witt (played by Rebecca de Mornay), former Marine that decides to become an FBI Agent. Before being enrolled in FBI Academy she is told that only a fraction of the class would actually finish the course, graduate and become an agent. Her own prospects seem discouraging, since she lacks school credentials and skills necessary to wrestle with high academic demands. Janis Zuckerman (played by Mary Gross), her nerdish roommate, has quite another problem - she could eat toughest academic courses for breakfast, but her physical skills and fitness seem way bellow high FBI standards. After a while both women decide to compensate each other's flaws with tutoring.

Probably some time during production Goldberg and his screenplay co- writer Len Bloom realised that their gags simply aren't funny and that this rather weak copy of POLICE ACADEMY couldn't work. So, they added some usual story ingredients - action in the form of bank robbery subplot, and some romance for our heroine, although failed one in the form of hunkish would-be agent Brent Shepard, played by Ken Marshall. Even with that, this film remain unattractive and its short length shows the lack of creative juices among its makers. Luckily, charm and tragically underused comedic talent of Rebecca de Mornay save this film from turning into total disaster. Unlike Mary Gross, who has the same facial expression for the most of the film, she gives some realism and humanity for her character.

Another thing that gives some purpose to this film is its educational value. Those who are able to swallow Bloom's and Goldberg's weak attempts on humour could get some interesting insight into the inner workings of world's most famous law enforcement organisation (after LAPD, of course). The training course is presented seriously and realistically with future Senator Fred Dalton Thompson playing quite believable chief instructor and giving lessons usually not applied by most of the on-screen lawmen. FBI, just as any other police organisation in the world, relies on its brains more than its guns, and this film reflects that - good psychological skills, intelligence and mastery of complicated legal procedures are actually more valuable than simple gunplay. This message of FEDS is more important than cliched and unsuccessful attempts to preach feminism.

Copyright 2000 Dragan Antulov

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