Video Review

Renaissance Man

MPAA Rating: PG-13
EW's GRADE
C-

Details Movie Rated: PG-13; Genre: Comedy; With: Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines and Stacey Dash

Watching this hybrid of Stripes and Dead Poets Society, I felt a kinship with Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park: I began thinking that the writers were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn't stop to think about whether they should. As it turns out, could was a problem too. DeVito plays an out-of-work ad exec who takes a gig teaching Double-D (''Dumb as Dogs---'') Army students and ends up enchanting them with the magic of Shakespeare. But the supposedly stupid characters come to class with fully adequate commands of rhetoric and irony — they just need to brush up on their grammar. It's nice that the filmmakers wanted to convey the joy of learning, but they stack the deck to the extent that 40 minutes into this tepid comedy, you might be seized by the conviction that ignorance of its remainder may well turn out to be bliss. C-

Originally posted Jan 13, 1995 Published in issue #257 Jan 13, 1995 Order article reprints