November 7, 1982
Variety, the show-bii bible, makes a one line summary at the top of all Its movie reviews Reviewing Bette Midler‘s “Jinxed1″ it simply reported Title says It all Cruel, but appropriate This Is a messed up movie that throws away what few opportunities it has to entertain us, and gets totally lost In a plot that starts as comedy and moves through farce on its way to paralysis.
The movie stars Bette Midler as a would be Nevada lounge singer She sings indeed, in the movie’s opening credits, and sings so well 1 was never able to understand for the rest of the movie why she was home with Rip Torn a chronic gambler who dreams of making one big score Suddenly he hits a winning streak He discovers that whenever he plays at a blackjack table where Ken Wahl is the dealer he cannot lose He makes impossible bets and pulls them off Card counting has nothing to do with it, he’s got a jinx on Wahl.
Midler and Torn follow Wahl keens eettine fired because of Torn s winning He s advised to put a jinx on his jinxer and so he shadows Torn and finds out where he lives Then when Torn is away, he bursts in on Midler, who reacts to him with all the restraint of Mae West at the Sugar Shack Thev become lovers and Midler tries to convince Wahl to kill Torn so they can collect on his life insurance and live happily ever after.
Up to this point, “Jinxed1 ” has been mediocre, with flashes of humor Now it starts to get really bad. Torn commits suicide before Wahl can kill him. Wahl follows Midler’s Instructions and eets rid of the body in a staged drunk-driving accident, after about IS awkward minutes of schlepping the corpse around But then it turns out that Torn didn’t leave an insurance policy – just a trail of anagrams.
The last time I saw a plot like this was in “The All-Night Treasure Hunt,” a Disney production I think it was better the last time All durin g the shooting of “Jinxed1 ” there were rumors that there, incredulous.
What is It with Midler? She proved long ago that she’s a great singer, dancer, comedienne and actress on the stage She was a great singer and actress In “The Rose,” a drama Then she made a wonderful concert film, “Divine Madness,” which was a disappointment at the box. Now this mess. Can’t Midler and Hollywood figure out how to use her talent7
The movie breaks into life, briefly, when Midler is singing which she does in the opening credits and then again at a high school reunion (putting a nice spin on ‘Papa Loves Mambo“) But the movie’s story Is so stupefying that wejust sit there, incredulous.
Doesn’t anybody realize it’s time for a remake of “Easter Parade ‘?