Video Review

True Colors (1991)

MPAA Rating: R
EW's GRADE
C+

Details Movie Rated: R; Genre: Drama; With: John Cusack and James Spader; Distributor: Paramount Home Video

In True Colors, when idealistic lawyer James Spader explains to his law school buddy John Cusack how doing good feels so liberating, he might as well be talking to a gavel. Cusack plays the kind of guy who'd betray his best pal for a shot at Congress — and does. This recycled scenario is as old as Manhattan Melodrama — one pal becomes a saint, the other a rat — but True Colors is still worth a look for its enjoyably familiar clichés. Would that director Herbert Ross (The Goodbye Girl) had trusted the durable plot and used a straightforward style. Practically every scene is fussed over, picked at, and tricked up. The movie does have the gifted Spader, superb in the thankless role of the Good One. The lightweight Cusack, however, doesn't have the authority to play an incipient demagogue. His juvenile performance turns True Colors hopelessly monochromatic. C+

Originally posted Aug 30, 1991 Published in issue #81 Aug 30, 1991 Order article reprints