Film review: Kicked in the Head

Corrigan stumbles in lead role, and the director doesn't seem to have a clue.

Published: Friday, Sept. 26 1997 12:01 a.m. MDT

In its own roundabout way, "Kicked in the Head" purports to ask some of the big questions, such as "What is truth?" and "What is the point of life?"

But the questions the filmmakers should have been asking themselves are "Why do we have such a lame guy as our main character?" and "Why did we make a movie about such a lame character?"

Of course, they're not the only ones who should be asking themselves such questions. An all-star supporting cast, which includes Linda Fiorentino, James Woods, Lili Taylor and Burt Young, and executive producer Martin Scorsese are probably wondering why they had anything to do with this alleged farce — an odd amalgamation of "Grosse Pointe Blank" and "The Graduate."

The film's aforementioned, "lame main character" is Redmond (Kevin Corrigan, who also co-wrote the film's script), a twentysomething New Yorker who has lost his job and apartment in short order. Undeterred, he sets out to "search for the truth," only to fall in with would-be gangsters and other ne'er-do-wells.

Redmond first runs into his shifty Uncle Sam (Woods), who has our clueless hero deliver a package of drugs for his boss, the druglord Wacky Jack (Young). But he bungles the delivery and, on the run from Jack's men, hides out at the apartment of his friend Stretch (Rapaport), a thug running his own illegal beer distribution scam.

Meanwhile, Redmond is romantically pursuing an older flight attendant (Fiorentino), whom he believes to be his "attendant godling," or guardian angel. And he in turn is being pursued by his ex-girlfriend, Happy (Taylor).

Unfortunately, none of the hijinks that ensue are remotely funny, and the whole thing has a hasty, improvised feel, as if Corrigan and director Matthew Harrison (who also co-scripted) devised plot and scene "roughs" and then let the actors make things up as they went.

What also hurts is that Corrigan — who has been very good in other independent films, including "Walking and Talking" — fails to make us care about either his character's search for truth . . . or his character.

And Harrison, who has a decent technical sense of direction, lets several scenes go on far too long. He also seems to have no control whatsoever over his cast. (Any director who can't coax a decent performance out of Taylor might want to rethink his long-range career goals.)

"Kicked in the Head" is rated R for rampant profanity and violence, scenes of drug use, sex and some vulgar references and gags.

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