The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 20, 1992- Page 7,
Presumed incompetent f
by Megan Abbott
When good directors fall, they generally fall great
distances and very fast. Alan J. Pakula is no exception.
Pakula once thrived as a primary player in the
1970's auteur movement when the director was the true
star of the movie, with the drawing power to match. His
thrilling creations of that era, especially "Klute" and the
conspiracy theorist favorite, "The Parallax View," re-
veal an artist once very much in control of his craft.
These films require an attentive and probing viewer, as
their plots entangle, darken, and puzzle the audience.
To see a director go from these triumphs to the
disasters of the last few years, one can only wonder
what went so horribly wrong. Pakula floundered in the
tedious "Presumed Innocent" (1990) and the wretched
"See You In The Morning" (1989). This descent into
conventional mediocrity does not slow down with his
Directed by Alan J. Pakula; written by Matthew Chapman;
with Kevin Kline, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Kevin
Spacey and Rebecca Miller
latest attempt, "Consenting Adults."
Granted, the trailer for "Consenting Adults" teases
and titillates the audience with allusions to mate-swap-
ping and suburban lechery. But what it delivers is stan-
dard Hollywood thriller fare. The routine repeats itself
with few variations here.
"Consenting Adults" tells the story of Richard
(Kevin Kline) and Priscilla (Mary Elizabeth Mastranto-
nio) Parker, a couple with one child and a stale relation-
,ship. Enter Eddy (Kevin Spacey) and Kay Otis
(Rebecca Miller), a swinging couple who move in next
door and transform their suburban home into what looks
like a set from a Ken Russell movie, complete with
blood red walls, soft track lighting, and a great deal of
The four fast become friends, with Eddie serving as
a libido for the stifled Richard. He proposes the two
men swap wives, as it is apparent Richard has fallen for
the sultry Kay. The film never lets the women's feelings
enter into this proposal. After all, what the men want is
surely what the women want, too.
With this pregnant premise, "Consenting Adults"
takes off. Unfortunately, it takes off in the completely
wrong direction. Instead of exploring the dynamics of
the two marriages and the impact of "swinging,"
"Consenting Adults" falls into an astonishingly pre-
dictable thriller mode. What a waste to abandon the
suburban angst possibilities. After all, "mate-swapping"
is one of the few taboos Hollywood has yet to merci-
But it is soon forgotten in favor of a rehash of older
(and better) film noir classics, such as "Double Indem-
nity" and even "Body Heat." If you're interested in a
meaningful exploration of "swinging" couples, read
John Updike's "Couples" instead.
In addition, the acting is uneven at best. Kevin
Spacey ("Glengarry Glen Ross") shines as the friendly
fascist-type who lures the couple into his life. He de-
serves much better.
Kevin Kline, however, does not deserve any better.
After sleepwalking through "Grand Canyon" and now
"Consenting Adults," it is easy to forget Kline can be an
excellent actor (such as in "Sophie's Choice").
What happened to Alan Pakula? Is this some
heinous impostor? In fact, with all the pseudo-
Hitchcock histrionics and the soggy plot full of red
herrings, it seems Pakula may have turned into Brian
DePahna at his worst. One "Raising Cain" in a lifetime
is more than enough.
CONSENTING ADULTS is playing at the Ann Arbor.
Kline, Mastrantonio, Spacey and Miller star in the latest Yuppie Punishment flick, "Consenting Adults."
The Boo Radleys
I know, I know, yet another Brit
"woozy" fey band: what's the big
deal? Well, if you have sworn off
this type of music in favor of the
next big thing, think again, and
check out The Boo Radley's
American debut LP, "Everything's
.Alright Forever." It's cerebral (the
fourteen tracks pack many musical
ideas on a densely populated disc),
yet enjoyable on an entirely basic
Subtly unsubtle, "Everything's
Alright Forever" features volume
changes, a variety of guitar, chiseled
noises and gimmick sounds, and just
plain strong song writing. Seven half
ideas were not doubled into fourteen
songs - rather, brief musical
thoughts are taken to their logical
end, not rehashed to fit a format.
Some songs clock in under two min-
utes, while others treble that amount.
Because the tunes work within a
conceptual structure - unlike, say,
Catherine Wheel which takes its
punches with solid rock songs
placed in a guitar wombadelic-re-
lated environment - the album is
near perfect. Centerpieces take the
essence of guitar wash to unexplored
realms, while other tracks give tra-
ditional escapist pop new meaning.
"Room at the Top" is their "You
Make Me Realise," while "Does
This Hurt?" is just so pretty, a seem-
ingly fab love song with a sinister
The band has taken extreme care
to craft a beautifully sculpted album.
Everything could be alright forever.
The Boo Radleys open for Sugar
tonight at the Michigan Theater.
- Annette Petruso
Touch And Go Records
Yee-ha! A vinyl 45 (remember
those?) is always a cause for
celebration. Especially when it's one
heavy-ass chunk o' stomp 'em and
smile guitar grunge-o-rama like this
This Minneapolis trio treads
some familiar territory, tearing off
some killer slabs of Big Chief does
Sabbath at Bob Mould's house riffs
The b-side kicks off with
"Walls," a melodic carnage crunch
that' l have ya reaching for that worn
copy of "Candy Apple Gray." The
other b-side, "Rosa," is a punchy lit-
tle paint-peeling rocker that comes
in at under two minutes.
- Scott Sterling
The Wild Life
After hitting the big time with the
requisite rock anthem "Up All
Night" and the sweet ballad "Fly to
the Angels," a pop-metal band like
Slaughter has the opportunity to
break from this ambiguous category
and find a serious musical direction.
Riding on the success of the bal-
lad, the band can mellow out and
retain a mainstream Top 40 audi-
ence; it can stay somewhere in the
middle where it began (and keep the
cheesy label); or, intensifying the
anthem, the band can get heavier
than ever before, becoming true
With so many options, what's a
band to do? Helpful hint: Don't ask
Stuck between brilliance and to-
tal confusion, Slaughter shines. But
it often sounds like another band's
songs. For the most part, "The Wild
Life" is a collection of extremely
strong songs; the problem is they do
little to help define a distinct
Ignoring the unoriginal and
repetitive opening fluff, "Reach For
the Sky," and the stupid hey-it-al-
See RECORDS, Page 8
ONLY 50 CENTS
FAX MACHINE FOR STUDENT USE
(sending and receiving)
Provided by LSA Student Government
4003 Michigan Union
Who needs Bob Mould after ell? Arcwelder grunges it up just fine.
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