Homer & Eddie
Ever since Neil Simon created Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, the odd couple has been a cinematic staple. Lately, high-concept filmmakers have been playing can-you-top-this with increasingly bizarre mix-and-match characters, leading the likable James Belushi to be cast as a straight man for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Russian cop (Red Heat), an irascible dog (K-9), and, in Homer & Eddie, Whoopi Goldberg.
Belushi and Goldberg do appear to have comedic potential together, but they’ll need a different movie to confirm it. He lacks the dramatic skills to make Homer, a sweet, mildly brain-damaged simpleton abandoned by his family, seem credibly impaired; she’s done the streetwise manic role too often to make Eddie, an erratic escaped mental patient, more than a caricature. Hitchhiking from Arizona to Oregon, Homer meets Eddie, who is on the lam (and dying of a brain tumor). These two misfits have absolutely nothing in common, but after knocking him out and rifling his suitcase, Eddie gives Homer a ride, introduces him to armed robbery, and takes him to a brothel. Of course, in typical movie fashion, the formerly sheltered innocent handles all the excitement with aplomb.
Blandly directed by Andrei Konchalovsky (Runaway Train, Tango & Cash), Homer & Eddie is a road picture to nowhere, a repetitive collection of adventures stuck together with attractive scenery and awful songs. Still, given the subject matter, this could have been far worse. The movie isn’t overly undignified, exploitative, or violent and doesn’t get really maudlin until the predictable ending. But inoffensiveness is no creative achievement, and the project hardly flatters the participants, at least one of whom desperately needed a good movie to revive her sorrowful career. For his part, the next time James Belushi receives an odd-couple script, he’d be wise to burn it. C