On the basis of Fourth Story and the recent TV movie Dillinger, Mark Harmon (St. Elsewhere) now qualifies as the most self-conscious sex symbol alive, so halting and deliberate that it’s a wonder he manages to deliver his lines.
Fourth Story features Harmon as a private detective hired to find the missing husband of Mimi Rogers (Someone to Watch Over Me). The plot is wearyingly predictable: While hunting for the husband (played by Cliff DeYoung), Harmon and Rogers fall in love, and by the time hubby has been tracked down, our heroes wish he’d stayed missing.
Scriptwriter Andrew Guerdat attempts some irony by making repeated references to other, more famous, fictional detectives. ”I was expecting someone like Humphrey Bogart,” Rogers says when she meets Harmon, referring to The Maltese Falcon; later, she compares him to Johnny Depp — one presumes she means the Depp of 21 Jump Street, not of Edward Scissorhands. ”Are you really a detective,” a minor character asks Harmon a bit later, ”like Bruce Willis?” And Harmon himself gets into this act: He tries to elude a thug by pulling some fancy automotive turns during a chase scene; when that fails, he grouses, ”Hey, that was supposed to work — I saw it on The Rockford Files.”
The chief mystery in Fourth Story is what Ivan Passer was doing directing it. Passer has overseen such interesting cult feature films as Born to Win and Cutter’s Way; he must have thought he was creating another idiosyncratic genre movie here, but in fact he was just biding his time. D