Sabrina

I am really sick of people going easy on this dud remake, which was based on the argument that the 1954 Billy Wilder original wasn't that good anyway. Rent the video and wake up. Instead of the luminous Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina, the awkward chauffeur's daughter who goes to Paris and comes back a swan, we have Julia Ormond, a decent actress without an ounce of the movie-star glamour the part demands. Instead of Humphrey Bogart as Linus, the elder boss-man brother on the Long Island, N.Y., estate where Sabrina's father works, we have Harrison Ford at his most dour. The role is written that way, of course. Sabrina is meant to awaken the buttoned-down Linus to love after a lifetime misspent shoring up the family fortune. Ford looks as stiff and old hat as his homburg.

Bogart had the benefit of Hepburn's spark, with the added resonance of having played the ultimate reawakened romantic in Casablanca. Instead of William Holden as David, the playboy younger brother who becomes Linus' rival for Sabrina, we have TV host Greg Kinnear. Actually, Kinnear isn't bad; he has an amiable charm. Holden had something more: substance. You felt Sabrina could bring out his finer qualities. Instead of Wilder as the director, we have Sydney Pollack, who drops the comic lilt he brought to Tootsie for the heavy gloss he laid on Havana. This lushly decorative Sabrina is just what we don't need — another celebration of conspicuous consumption.

From The Archives Issue 208: March 11, 1976