Holly Hunter turns up again this time as M.J. Monahan, a Los Angeles cop on the hunt for a serial killer who copies the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy. Since the formidable Sigourney Weaver co-stars as Helen Hudson, a psychologist with an expertise in serial killers, you might reasonably expect that Copycat is a superior thriller in the vein of Silence of the Lambs.Don’t bet the price of admission on it. Although Hunter and, especially, Weaver perform beyond the call of goose-bump duty, the stars are slumming along with British director Jon Amiel (Sommersby). Copycat is caca.
M.J. and her partner, Ruben (Dermot Mulroney in the cute klutz role usually assigned to women), want Helen’s help in catching the monster. The trouble is, Helen hasn’t left her apartment since another creepazoid killer (a drooling Harry Connick Jr. with bad teeth and pimples) strung her up in a ladies’ room and started to strip her and slice her up before the cops came. What’s Weaver doing in a graphic gore-athon like this? Maybe she wants to show that a woman has the brains and brawn to track down and throttle her own exploiters. Hell, we knew that from her Alien films. What’s Hunter, fresh from her Oscar for The Piano,doing packing heat? Maybe she wants to show that a woman can kick ass as hard as a guy? Hell, we knew that from HBO’s Cheerleader Murdering Mom.
Truth be told, Hunter and Weaver are probably looking for the same thing as every other actress in Hollywood: a blockbuster movie. Too long between hits means too long between jobs. Right now, macho crime flicks from Pulp Fiction to Sevenare helping to make their male stars bankable commodities. By lending their talent and class to an illogical, sensationalized and demeaning screamer such as Copycat,Hunter and Weaver are merely playing the survival game. It’s a sorry indictment of what has come to pass as shoddy movie business as usual.