Look Who's Talking

Ever since his smash in Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta has taken heat for making too many movies that show off his body and little else. None of that here. As a cabdriver named James in this witless farce, written and directed by Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Travolta looks puffy and pooped. But, oh, is he sensitive. James helpfully speeds Mollie (Kirstie Alley of Cheers), an unmarried, pregnant CPA, to the delivery room. Later, he babysits, offers moral support, friendship and flirtation. Want more? James lives on the cheap so he can afford to put up his grandpa (Abe Vigoda) in a decent senior citizens' home.

Raising her baby, Mikey, alone, Mollie comes to realize that James is a treasure compared to the yuppie pig (George Segal) who got her pregnant. Mikey tells her this. Sure he's a baby, but Heckerling uses Bruce Willis to narrate Mikey's thoughts in his wiseass Moonlighting manner. Ha-ha? Nope. Ho-hum.

In one scene, Travolta joins Alley for an impromptu dance and sing-along as Gene Pitney's "Town Without Pity" blares from a kitchen radio. Travolta seems to be enjoying himself; he's loose, spontaneous. We're reminded of what drew us to him before turkeys like Two of a Kind and Staying Alive picked away at our affection. The moment is fleeting, but it indicates that Travolta might deserve yet another chance to salvage his career. This flabby comedy, though, deserves only one thing: to fall on its fat one.

From The Archives Issue 68: October 15, 1970
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