Thursday, 6 February 2014

Vice Versa (1988)





















Strange to think this little forgotten 80's comedy is actually an adaptation of a late 18th Century novel. Hardly the kind of thing you'd expect to see Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage in. This overlooked flick came out a few months before 'Big' but failed to do as well unsurprisingly.

One high flying business man and neglectful father swaps places with his very small bullied son. From there on the little boy must try and hold his fathers job together while the dad must battle the daily grind of school. At the same time a couple of baddies are also after the precious object that causes all the commotion. Its easy to grasp, predictable and cheesy but its a fun little jaunt.

It always bothered me that they went to the trouble of having both characters actually change shape, shrink n grow, to make you believe that each of them transformed into the other. Wouldn't it have been easier just for them to swaps minds? why did they have to virtually mutate into each others body shape? You don't see that of course, its only implied by camera angles and the simple raising and lowering of the floor beneath them, but it just seemed pointless to me.

The other thing I could never work out was this department store in Chicago. Obviously its suppose to be a very prestigious store for wealthy buyers but would it really have such lavish office levels above the store? I don't know maybe in the US this is how big stores work, maybe here in the UK too in say...Harrods, but it felt so odd. All these snivelling ass kissing suits following the big director around their plush offices, the whole entourage of hierarchy that seems to run the store like the third Reich putting the fear of God into the employees. It is of course so very 80's with the power suits, an all white pompous set of staff and stereotypical male chauvinistic behaviour (bit like 'Trading Places'), but I did like that angle, its so damn retro.

This is one of those comedies that is suppose to be for kids but its actually quite grown up really, a perfect 80's comedy then. Many scenes contain Savage swearing, drinking and talking to adults as if he was one himself. That is the whole point sure but you know in this day and age it would be so watered down and childish, this is a touch edgy at times and its brilliant. Gotta be honest this is probably Savage's best major film too, he really does perform well as an adult I must say, Reinhold also kills it as a big child (he's perfectly cast with his looks), both have lots of cute little moments which will make you laugh.

You can see the how the finale will unfold a mile off but its still good goofy fun as the two bad guys get their obvious comeuppance. Its not a Pink Panther type of tomfoolery don't worry, its a very tolerable silliness that is somewhat believable, there are no real big stunts or action sequences in this. I loved the performances from everyone in this, quick nod to the trio of brown nosing office boy yes men who all came across as Waldorf and Statler-like live action Muppets, Richard Kind being one. Totally underrated in this reviewers opinion and well worth the watch if you enjoy really dated 80's flicks, good Xmas time flick too.

8/10