Published Oct 01, 2003Elizabeth Berkley should always be remembered for her lead role in the incredibly bad/good Showgirls. It's unlikely she will be remembered for her role in Ben Ratner's Moving Malcolm, as this movie is destined to languish as a bottom-feeder in the Canadiana section at a video store near you.
For Mr. Ratner, this will be a difficult bullet to dodge. Does this film fail because of directing, acting or writing? Take your pick he's holding the bag on all three. The "vaguely autobiographical" story follows Ratner in the role of Gene as he attempts to disentangle himself from the emotional baggage deposited by his girlfriend, who ditched him at the alter. In a stroke of typecasting genius, Ratner has assigned the role of the girlfriend a B movie actress named Elizabeth to a B movie actress named Elizabeth. Sooner than later she re-enters Gene's life, prevailing upon him to help move Malcolm, her elderly father (played by the illustrious John Neville), into his new apartment.
In his malaise, Gene is kept company by his chaotic family and, sporadically, friend Herbert (Nick Lea, aka Krycek on The X-Files). These characters are meant to be quirky, flawed and lovable. Sometimes the supporting cast manages to breathe life into the film but Ratner's distracting cinematic artifice often reduces them to mawkish cartoons. Still, the film's senior citizens carry on gamely and it is their work that makes this movie at least watchable.
Attendance will be mandatory for those who have enjoyed watching Berkley ascend from her days on Saved by the Bell to the super-freak she is now. I don't know if this is part of her regular thespian arsenal but in Moving Malcolm, when attempting to convey great emotion, she uses this unexpected little "baby-boo-boo" voice that is genuinely weird. It comes and goes so fast and is so out of place you think to yourself did that just happen? Maybe there is life after Showgirls. (Mongrel Media)