Lisa Schwarzbaum
November 04, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

Radioland Murders

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
performer
Brian Benben, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mel Smith
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Comedy

We gave it an D

Damn funny British comedian-director Mel Smith (The Tall Guy) directed this darn unfunny, Noises Off-ish murder mystery set in 1939 on the debut night of a new radio network. Which makes sense: Dry-witted Brits are the only ones with a hope in hell of turning the recurring motif of being bopped in the face by a swinging door into something halfway amusing. Unfortunately, the script of this swinging-door-filled farce is strictly, flatfootedly American. It’s not helped by the exertions of Brian Benben, who, in the lead role, appears to have cloned Martin Tupper, his apoplectic Dream On character. A parade of usually reliable talent stumbles behind him — hypnotized, perhaps, by the fact that George Lucas Himself came up with the story: Mary Stuart Masterson, Ned Beatty, Michael McKean, Jeffrey Tambor, Christopher Lloyd, Robert Klein, and the late Anita Morris are among Radioland‘s victims. D

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