Sunday, December 27, 2009
No need for you to answer this call
Night Caller (aka "South Beach") (1993)
Starring: Fred Williamson, Peter Fonda, Gary Busey, Robert Forster, and Vanity
Directors: Fred Williamson and Alain Zaloum
Rating: Two of Ten Stars
Three retired football players (Busey, Fonda and Williamson) are living the good life in Florida while dabbling at being private detectives when they're bored. When the ex-wife of Williamson's character (Vanity) is threatened by a stalker who murders one of her co-workers, the fun and games become deadly serious for everyone.
"Night Caller" suffers from a severe case of attention deficit disorder. We have the stalker, we have gangsters wanting protection money from local merchants, we have gangsters trying to protect their girlfriends from being shamed over nude photos taken of them (yeah, I wondered about that one, too), we have obscene phone-calls being made to a phone-sex worker (yeah, I too thought that went with the territory)... and then we have our main characters wandering blithely from situation to situation and getting by on script fiat and luck more than detective work or anything resembling common sense or decent story logic. This movie tries to be a buddy picture, a sexual thriller, and a detective story and if fails miserably at being all three.
If you add to the fact that everyone in the film--even Fred Williamson who is usually fairly bad--gives performances far below their usual standards to the pathetic script, as well as the appearance that several actors seem drunk in more than a few scenes (although I suppose they could just be trying to play "jovial"), I think it's a safe bet that everyone in this picture is there more for the Florida vacation than actual work.