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Curiosity Kills

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If it had any style, this made-for-cable thriller might get by as an homage to Rear Window. As is, however, Curiosity Kills merely invites a comparison from which it can only suffer — and nobody comes off looking worse than its star, C. Thomas Howell. Sporting a silly Maynard G. Krebs goatee, Howell is nevertheless utterly bland as a struggling photographer-apartment superintendent who suspects that his strange new tenant (Jeff Fahey) is up to something illegal. Joined by neighbor Rae Dawn Chong, Howell turns amateur sleuth — yet the detective work goes so slowly that there is ample time to notice every little seam in the flimsily woven plot. Director Colin Bucksey does generate some suspense down the stretch; unfortunately, his finale is borrowed unabashedly from the climax of the Hitchcock classic. If Brian De Palma had done this, he’d have been handed his head. Then again, if De Palma had done it, it probably would have worked. C-

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