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Film review: Second Sight

Published: Thursday, Nov. 30 1989 12:00 a.m. MST

More TV actors are trying to succeed on the big screen as John Larroquette ("Night Court"), Bronson Pinchot ("Perfect Strangers") and Stuart Pankin ("Not Necessarily the News") play a modern-day trio of stooges who form a detective agency in "Second Sight."

This is a detective comedy with a gimmick, however, as Pinchot has "super-psychic" abilities and gets special help from a spirit named Murray.

The result is ample opportunity for Pinchot to show off mimicking ability and slapstick agility, but unfortunately the script is so lame, the direction so ill-timed and the story so cynical that any humor the cast may have seen while reading the script has been lost in its translation to the screen.

Larroquette, who seems to do little besides sputter and fume at Pinchot, when he's not trying to pick up women (there's more than a little Dan Fielding at work here), is the head of the detective agency, a former cop whose chief had an affair with his wife.

Pankin is the Ph.D who is Pinchot's guide in and out of bizarre trances, but who doesn't want to see Pinchot's "talents" abused. (Unbeknownst to him his wife is using Pinchot to get gambling tips on baseball games.)

And Pinchot is the zany psychic, whose origins are never explained, but who is often surrounded by blue special effects.

Then there's the main plot, about a cardinal who is kidnapped and the nun (Bess Armstrong) who helps our trio rescue him. It's predictable and silly, and so we know Armstrong won't remain a nun it is explained that she took her vows when her boyfriend was hit by an ice cream truck - she feels guilty because she sent him out for the ice cream. Coincidently, the boyfriend turns out to be Pinchot's Murray.

There are so many nasty Catholic jokes it's apparent screenwriters Tom Schulman and Patricia Resnick have a bias, but the film is so flat and loaded with dangling subplots it's hard to believe Schulman is the same guy who wrote "Dead Poets Society" and "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" and Resnick co-wrote "9 to 5."

"Second Sight" is rated PG for profanity, vulgar jokes and comic violence.