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The Adventures of Pluto Nash (August 15/02)

The Adventures of Pluto Nash, after being delayed for more than a year, finally hits theaters accompanied by the kind of buzz that virtually assures it a disastrous run. It certainly doesn't help that Warner Bros. refused to screen the film for critics, a move that almost always indicates a complete lack of faith in the content of the movie by the studio. And after all that, it turns out that The Adventures of Pluto Nash isn't that bad. It's not exactly great, of course, but it makes for an entertaining enough way to kill 90 minutes.

The movie's set in the year 2080, and mankind has evidently colonized the moon. Eddie Murphy stars as the title character, a charismatic and successful club owner on that planet. Along with a just-hired waitress (Rosario Dawson) and his trusty robot bodyguard (Randy Quaid), Nash is forced to go on the run after his establishment is bombed by a nefarious thug who wants the land. The remainder of the film essentially follows Nash's attempts to discover the identity of the bomber, while evading the variety of pursuers sent to kill him.

Though my expectations for the film were exceptionally low, it turns out that The Adventures of Pluto Nash is just diverting enough to recommend it. First of all, the set design is incredibly intricate and fascinating to just look at. It's reminiscent of the industrial futuristic look that Outland, the Sean Connery flick set on Jupiter, put to effective use. It's the little touches here that make this vision of the future work, such as the variety of robots running around. Quaid, as Nash's loyal bodyguard, manages to give an incredibly effective performance, despite being forced to walk around with a silly grin and having his voice altered in post production. Though the film is peppered with cameo appearances (one of which provides the movie's biggest laugh), Quaid easily steals every scene he's in. As for Murphy himself, he gives his standard performance here, which does work (since he's supposed to be a likeable club owner).

Don't misunderstand; The Adventures of Pluto Nash isn't exactly a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. There's not enough plot to keep the story going, the special effects have a tendancy to overshadow the characters on a few occasions... but having said that, the film is exactly the sort of movie one expects in the summer. It's loud, fast-paced, and easy enough to follow so that you don't really have to concentrate.

out of

© David Nusair