Written by Dale Launer
Directed by Blake Edwards
Say the name “Bruce Willis” and what generally comes to mind are movies with lots of action and violence. However, there was a time when Willis was in films where he actually had to act and didn’t play second fiddle to the effects and action going on around him. This was especially true of Blind Date, which he made prior to his role on the television show Moonlighting which was what eventually catapulted him to stardom.
Willis is Walter Davis, a financial executive who’s a workaholic and down on his luck when it comes to women. He is in desperate need of a date for a dinner with a major client. His brother, Ted (portrayed by the late Phil Hartman) sets him up on a blind date with Nadia (portrayed by Kim Basinger). Nadia is beautiful and Walter is only cautioned not to get her drunk or “she loses control”. Of course, the first thing he does is start feeding her alcohol.
Nadia proceeds to disrupt the dinner by insulting the waiter, spraying his boss with champagne, and confronting Mr. Yakamoto, the financier Walter needs to impress, who has a very traditional Japanese wife whom he treats like a slave and a slew of concubines on the side. Nadia manages to convince his wife to divorce him, which results in Walter getting fired.
Then there’s Nadia’s psychotic ex-boyfriend, David (portrayed by John Larroquette), who chases them all night. He’s playing the Dan Fielding character from Night Court back before I really knew what it was. However, that comes off well as he continually dogs Nadia and Walter throughout the night.
Of course, in spite of it all (or maybe because of it all) Walter falls for Nadia and vice-versa. The question is whether Walter will be able to overcome his pride in the end and rescue the woman he loves from a life of misery.
Directed by the legendary Blake Edwards, Blind Date is much a physical comedy, although the fun didn’t come at me at such a breakneck pace I was exhausted at the end. The pacing was nice in that for much of the film just as it seemed to slow down, something happened to start the fun all over again, whether it was the appearance of David, Nadia doing something crazy, or Walter’s reaction to all that is going on around him. Edwards manages to weave a perfect pace of comedy without getting too outlandish, although some of the scenarios are somewhat improbable.
The actors really shine, too. Willis is great here, and it’s a shame in some ways he moved to the action films where he gets overshadowed by the effects and action. Although he’s much the straight man in Blind Date, he plays off the situations so well. For the first time Walter’s much ordered world seems out of control and Willis is great in portraying a man who is used to the illusion of control but loses it here.
It seems as if he and Basinger really had some chemistry going. I never thought much of her other than a few performances which stood out over the years. She’s good here, even if the character is a one-trick pony who doesn’t surprise me in any way. Still, she has great timing for the comedy and does a great job carrying her end of the story.
I would say Larroquette was disappointing, but that’s really only after the years of seeing him on television portraying the same character. Back in 1987 this was something unique and what he does here is really terrific when it can be removed from his entire body of work. I’d like to think Dan Fielding was built off of the character here, which is something he does so well.
Overall, Blind Date is a really fun film. It’s not going to get listed as a classic, but it’s a movie which will spawn some laughter and smiles. I had fun watching it again as did a friend of mine who hadn’t seen the film in at least as long as I have.
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Categories: Movie Reviews