Owen Gleiberman
April 02, 1993 AT 05:00 AM EST

Born Yesterday

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
performer
Broderick Crawford, John Goodman, Melanie Griffith, Don Johnson, Judy Holliday
genre
Comedy, Romance

We gave it a C+

In her Oscar-winning performance in Born Yesterday (1950), Judy Holliday, speaking in a voice that made Betty Boop sound like Jeane Kirkpatrick, got so far inside the Hollywood dumb-blond archetype that she attained a kind of fluffhead Zen. Melanie Griffith just does her dreamy, flirtatious cuddle-bug number in this so-so remake. She has moments of charm, but the whole character of Billie Dawn, ignoramus girlfriend of a corrupt Washington, D.C., wheeler-dealer (John Goodman), now seems fatally out of synch with the popular imagination (four decades ago, you may recall, women in Washington had slightly more limited options). As the clean-Gene reporter who becomes her Pygmalion-like suitor, Don Johnson, with his perma-tan and dimply come-on, is like a gigolo impersonating a professor. C+

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