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JOHN RITTER IN HERO AT LARGE (W/ TAXI DRIVER CONNECTION)

year: 1980 cast: John Ritter, Anne Archer, Bert Convey, Harry Bellaver, Kevin Bacon rating: ***
John Ritter plays a struggling yet optimistic actor living in New York City. Beginning at a crowded intersection, we slowly zoom in on Ritter’s Steve Nichols arguing with a lady we won't see again...

Oh well, Anne Archer’s a whole lot cuter. How ironic she was up for Lois Lane in SUPERMAN… Now she’s the Girl Friday of another superhero… but not really...
Harry Bellaver watched John Ritter standing up to a non-famous Kevin Bacon (with other kid Neill Barry)
He's only an actor having to dress up like one, standing outside a theater to promote a film called CAPTAIN AVENGER, a low-paying gig he really likes since, after all, pleasing crowds is Steve’s business…

The plot begins when Steve, stopping at a liquor store, thwarts a robbery – still wearing the superhero costume. This ignites the rabid media, having no clue of the masked man's identity…

Much of the film has Steve flirting with, and eventually romancing, his gorgeous neighbor, Archer’s J. Marsh, while ignoring media hype spouting from television – the news, and the incumbent mayor’s determined assistant, wants the hero revealed...
Anne Archer dodging perpetual advances
By the time Steve dons the garb and ventures downtown, the ride's almost over… It might have been interesting seeing a completely inept guy fighting crime – instead there’s a ton of whining and so much reluctance to take action, perhaps the AT LARGE should have been AT HOME…

Ritter makes for a likable romantic lead while Archer’s great to look at, as usual, but the idealistic conclusion is preachy and bulwarks the fun that should have been had along the way.
The first homage to TAXI DRIVER... alright, maybe this wasn't intentional...
But the casting of Leonard Harris doing the same gesture is an obvious TAXI DRIVER nod...
You decide... Here's Leonard Harris reaching out as Senator Palantine in TAXI DRIVER
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