We examine a strange line from ''Lethal Weapon 3'' -- Screenwriter Jeffrey Boam explains Rene Russo's confusing retort

A cinematic Rorschach test: Please explain the following line of dialogue that is spoken by Det. Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) to Det. Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) in Lethal Weapon 3: ”Close is a lingerie shop without a front window.” Give up? You’re not the only one. Lethal audiences are puzzled by Cole’s taunt, uttered when Riggs admits he came this close to catching the bad guy. And even Riggs himself admits, ”I don’t get it.”

So what does it mean? ”Nothing,” says screenwriter Jeffrey Boam. ”It’s a complete non sequitur. The (original) line was something like ‘Close doesn’t count,’ or ‘Close only counts with horseshoes.’ Dick (director Richard Donner) is a fun-loving guy,” says Boam, ”and this thought just popped into his head. He said, ‘Let’s have her say something completely off the wall.”’ Boam, who wasn’t on the set at the time, quickly faxed Donner a dozen meaningless lines that began with the words, ”Close is…” Then the whole cast and crew started coming up with them. But the one they used came from Russo herself. ”This is like some line from a Beatles song,” says Boam. ”I guess people are trying to figure it out.”

Lethal Weapon 3
  • Movie
  • 118 minutes