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GUILTY PLEASURE 'VIBES' WITH CYNDI LAUPER & JEFF GOLDBLUM

Year: 1988 Rating: ***

It's a shame this comedy/adventure, about two slacker city folk with psychic powers, bombed so hard in  theaters because Cyndi Lauper – the 1980's icon who sang about girls wanting to have fun – is a pretty good actress, sharing the right amount of lightweight chemistry with fellow psychic (and really nice guy) Jeff Goldblum and rogue con-artist Peter Falk, who tricks the duo into finding his kidnapped son when he's actually seeking a mysterious pyramid of light on a mountaintop... 

Here's where the film, after establishing the likable characters in New York and then their hijinx in a small Ecuador town, goes downhill: once they reach the destination, there's nothing more to build. But Lauper's presence alone making the decent parts, and even the boring ones, somewhat worthwhile. And it's no surprise that WARLOCK's Julian Sands is a worthy adversary.

Produced by Ron Howard, perhaps because his close friends, NIGHT SHIFT and SPLASH writing team Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, penned the story and screenplay, he climbed on board in the first place (at least Ron didn't pull a George Lucas HOWARD THE DUCK catastrophe, the infamous comic-book adaptation written by his own collaborators, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz)...

And while VIBES is also a quirky romantic comedy with aspects of science-fiction and outdoorsy pulp adventure, director Ken Kwapis keeps the pace thanks to Lauper and Goldlum, who, unlike their reverse-magnetic behavior on set (according to Lauper's own autobiography), seem to really be in touch with each other. Then again, that's what actors do, pretend. The best scenes as the polar opposites bonding in New York: Cyndi's Eli Diamond has an imaginary friend giving her predictions while Goldblum's Nick Dreezy views the past by touching objects, both possessing "gifts" that are, as danger roles in, more of a curse: but at least they have each other to depend on, and ultimately, fall in love with.

Right Jeff Goldbum on Columbo left headlinng over Peter Falk in VIBES
Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum in VIBES
Cyndi Lauper in VIBES
Cyndi Lauper and Jeff Goldblum in VIBES


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