The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
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Ford "Mr. Rock n' Roll Detective" Fairlane is experiencing problems, and it's not with the opposite sex. One of them is that all the rock stars pay him with drum sticks, koala bears, food processors and bicycle shorts. Another one of them is that all his employers that want him to find a girl named Zuzu Petals get killed. Why didn't he become a fisherman's detective instead?

July 11, 1990

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Reviewed by Picture Dane_Youssef

by Dane Youssef

More dated than a Vanilla Ice album, "Ford Fairlane" was clearly a vehicle for Dice.

Unfortunately, this big loud, tricked-out rock 'n' roll Ford crashed and burned. Figures. It was made in America.

During that fabulous and f*cked-up era known as the '80's, the Dice was atop of the world. Known for his persona as an Elvis impersonator with tackiness and bad vibes to spare, his over-exaggerated mock "Itallian" accent, his trademark studded personalized leather jacket, his chain-smoking and spreading misogyny and prejudice. (sniff, weep, sob. I really miss the '80's).

The whole movie looks like a film that clearly embodies the whole spirit and soul of the '80's.

The tropical mellow melody from "Yello" is great and so is Vince Neil and Sheila E. (although they should have had more time with their numbers), and Tone Loc plays himself as "undiscovered." Getting out only one measly verse.

20th Century Fox distributed this one, and it was the first in what was supposed to be a string of vehicles for the Diceman. But after this one went belly-up, 20th Century Fox shredded Clay's contract into confetti. Like many entertainers who had created a character persona, The Diceman was a soup de' jour that fell of the menu.

Now the Diceman's very presence in a movie or TV show is a red flag. A dire warning that this will go down in flames and crash-land into the ocean. Which is why the Diceman wisely chooses to limit his presence to stand-up gigs.

Can the lovable everyman Andrew Silverman (yes, I am being sarcastic) play anyone besides "The Diceman"? Doesn't look like it. Still, that is essentially what this movie was meant to be him doing his Diceman shtick in a movie lead with a different name.

Some fan on eCritic once described Clay's Diceman character as "Elvis Presley given a fatal over-dose of testosterone." He hit the nail right on the head so dead-on, it was breath-taking. Yes, THAT is the Diceman.

The humor is often beneath the belt-line (natch). But the film is brimming with shots at the music industry and the rest who inhabit America and are slow to evolve. What's wrong with humanity. That's what satire's all about.

But no, that's not what the Diceman's about, is it? Is he capable of being about more? Most of the world says no. Most of the world or at least this country is made up of detractors.

Still, one of the screenwriters is the Ace legend Daniel Waters, who wrote the '80's teenage-angst high school masterpiece "Heathers." So you expect some amount of wicked lines and skewering satire. And you have to admit, we get abounds of that.

Renny Harlin really gives the movie a rich and bright neon look, as well as first rate comic-action sequences. Not to mention a cast as priceless as the original works of Picasso. Some (actually, many) said the movie's one real problem was the casting of Dice. Well, I can kinda see what they're saying. Hey, it's a Dice movie. Deal with it. Well, you can't please everybody.

The movie's chock-full of big name celebrity walk-ons. There are so many names dropped here, you want them to pick some of them up. Gilbert Gottfried is sleazier than he's ever been as a obnoxious, grosser-than-the-grossest-gross-out DJ who's Fairlane's childhood buddy and now #1 in the ratings. He has the face and body for radio, but not the voice.

Brandon Call is endearing as a fatherless little kid who idolizes Ford, follows him around and tries to shadow him. This film takes-off detective pictures, including "Dick Tracy." So just like "Dick Tracy," Ford gets involved with this young little ragamuffin who wants to be just like him and is also dubbed "The Kid."

Priscilla Presley's golden as the femme fa-tale who doesn't even blink at Ford's juvenile behavior. Robert Englund steals scenes from Clay as a merciless hit-man who's more scary, funny and charged than Freddy Krueger ever was.

But while there is a lot of hip music video rock imagery and big name musicians walking through like this whole movie is a big MTV music awards after-party, not too many of them do the music that they're so known for doing.

Wayne Newton seems appropriate as a blow-hard record exec who seems too full of helium, Priscilla Presley as the necessary whodunit femme fa-tale, David Patrick Kelly as a perverted fan.

But the sweetness of the movie comes from Lauren Holly as Ford's girl Friday Jazz (who's the only one with a uterus who calls him on what a s--t-crock he is). "I'd always love Jazz... 'cause she despised me for who I truly am," Fairlane tells us. And Call's "Kid" idolizes and emulates Fairlane the way most boys do superheroes. He is the innocence of the film.

Clay has the looks, stature and self-confidence to play a leading man, but not the charisma. But then again, most of us have just seen his "Diceman" shtick. But can he do any other shtick? Although this movie seems to lean towards 'no,' one has to remember than he was just expanding on his "Diceman" shtick--around that time, it was still hot.

This guy had a hot career all throughout the '80's... and just as his career was really blowing up... it blew up. Still, I love this movie.

Ever since women took over in the late '90's, they censored and repressed us with a de-humanization form they like to call "political correctness." So that's really why I love this movie (and not just me, really), but a lot of other guys, too.

It was made during a time when it was still OK to be a man.

--Having Driven a Ford Vehicle Lately, Dane Youssef






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