Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Richard Wenk
Stars: Andy Garcia, Andie MacDowell, Richard Bradford, Andre Blank, Irene Worth, Elizabeth Ashley, Chris Lemmon, Ron Liebman, Abe Vigoda.
This curiously bland and unsatisfying romantic comedy is something of a labour of love for co-stars Andy Garcia, who produced it through his production company, and Andie MacDowell. Garcia plays Gary Starke, a ticket scalper who operates on the streets of New York. His long suffering girl friend Linda (MacDowell) has grown impatient with his lack of commitment to their relationship and his inability to follow through in achieving his dreams. When a chance to go to Paris to pursue her career as a chef arises she is tempted to jump at the opportunity.
But Gary has pinned his hope of salvation on one last desperate roll of the dice. The Pope is coming to New York to address the faithful, and Gary is trying to get his hands on what will become the hottest ticket in town. Unfortunately, a new, better organised and more ruthless operator is muscling in on his territory, and Gary’s chances of redemption are fading fast.
Just The Ticket is lumbered from the outset with an implausible scenario and a pair of central characters that just aren’t likeable enough to warrant the time spent in their company.
Garcia rightfully dominates the film, and brings plenty of energy to the screen. Although a normally charismatic and charming actor, he tries hard to evince some sympathy for his shallow character. However, his performance is too mannered, and he never quite succeeds in winning the audience over. MacDowell is also rather bland in a role that gives her too few opportunities to shine. Just The Ticket never allows the two performers to develop a rapport, and this lack of chemistry eventually damns the film.
Writer and first time director Richard Wenk takes a risk by filming many crucial scenes on the crowded streets of New York. This technique brings a sense of energy and realism to the film, although far too often the passers-by can be seen gazing questioningly into the camera.
Only a very touching scene between Gary and his mentor Bennie (Richard Bradford) brings some emotional punch to this rather pedestrian and laboured effort. And the only real comic touch comes when Gary helps Linda cater a dinner for a spoiled rich matron (Irene Worth). It’s all too little to salvage this patchy and dreary comedy.
Unfortunately, this is not such a hot cinematic ticket!