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DUDLEY MOORE IN 'BEST DEFENSE' FEATURING EDDIE MURPHY

Great Book, actually... SCORE: **
Starting with 48 HRS and following up with TRADING PLACES and then peaking with BEVERLY HILLS COP, Eddie Murphy was not only the man of the hour, he was the hour… A standout hero of the second incarnation of Saturday Night Live, the initial “Eddie Cinema Trilogy” covered a lot of ground, making the edgy black comic downright unbreakable... But that’s only if you forget about his “Strategic Guest Star” turn in a movie that’s not even his own…

BEST DEFENSE was a Dudley Moore vehicle directed and co-written by Willard Huyck and wife Gloria Katz, who attempted romantic magic abroad with FRENCH POSTCARDS after collaborating with George Lucas in the timelessly brilliant AMERICAN GRAFFITI, as well as the disappointing but highly successful INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM followed by the abysmal career-killing HOWARD THE DUCK.
And here, their DEFENSE has an obscure literary origin, based on the novel EASY AND HARD WAYS OUT, written by Robert Grossbach, which, in this reviewers' opinion, surpasses even Richard Hooker’s MASH...

Year: 1984
In the book, Eddie Murphy’s character was a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam, and here he’s a tank driver in, of all places, the desert of Kuwait… in 1984! His part takes place two years after the mainline, in which Dudley Moore’s unoriginal tech inventor Wylie Cooper works in a fledgling laboratory base in Seal Beach, California. He has to perfect a “gyro” targeting system that will guide the tank that Murphy’s Lt. Landry uses in the b-story…

Eddie between funny films
Basically, if Moore can't get the gyro to work, then Murphy, rolling into hostile enemy territory, won't have a prayer. While Eddie's the comic relief, scenes where he and two Israeli klutzes goof off in the tank are painfully unfunny. And Moore tries his frantic "best," running around in a prolonged hotel/convention sequence, avoiding both a lethal assassin and the flirtatious advances of workmate Helen Shaver. Plus he’s got his hands on a secret “McGuffin” device that he’s taken credit for, and the bad guys want it... at all costs.

Sounds confusing; and it is, somewhat. But worst of all, DEFENSE is a sloppy uneven mess that runs around in circles – attempting political satire and lightweight comedy while sloppily juggling a tacked-on Cold War sideline… And completely failing on all counts.
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