Given all the respect VIBES pays the supernatural, it's tempting to say this movie must have been sired under an unlucky star. It proved to be one of the biggest Hollywood bombs of 1988.
Nick Deezy (Jeff Goldblum) is a stolid museum curator endowed with "psychometry"--he can sense secret knowledge merely by touching an object. Sylvia Pickel (Cyndi Lauper) is a kooky hairdresser with abilities of astral projection and an unseen spirit medium named Louise. Both are among the flakes
enrolled in a New York University program under Dr. Harrison Steele (Julian Sands) studying psychic phenomena. Nick and Sylvia seem to have little in common besides ghostly gifts and wrecked romances, but both agree to help con man Harry Buscalfusco (Peter Falk) when he begs them to venture to
Ecuador and search for his missing son. In truth, Harry seeks an Incan lost city of gold that has already claimed the lives and sanity of two partners. But as the bickering trio plod into the Andes mountains a rival team is also on the trail, and they aren't above killing Harry to reach the misty
ruins. Leading the villains, in fact, is Dr. Steele, who knows that the Incan treasure is not gold but a glowing miniature pyramid, "the most concentrated psychic energy source on the planet." With it he could rule the world, after Nick and Sylvia are out of the way. Sylvia thwarts the bad guys by
harnessing the pyramid power and unleashing a telekinetic tempest against them. This effort costs her the otherworldly link to Louise. Back in their hotel room, Nick and Sylvia admit their love for each other, and Sylvia realizes she has picked up another spirit guide--Harry.
VIBES tried to launch a movie career for 1980s pop-music vocalist Cyndi Lauper, with a role tailored to her eccentric gamine charm. It didn't work. One should perhaps be charitable toward Lauper, since any movie that makes old pro Peter Falk as insufferable as this one does sure won't present a
warm welcome for any hopeful newcomer. Too bad, for there are fleeting moments of banter between Lauper and Goldblum that rise to the level of amusement. But nobody escapes unscathed from the gimmicky script co-authored by blockbuster comedy writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (CITY SLICKERS,
SPLASH, PARENTHOOD, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN), with its hackneyed paranormal premise that takes the leads out of familiar Manhattan territory to the visually uninteresting climes of South America (scenes shot on location), where there is way too much pan-flute music and far too little sense of
adventure, and inadequate explanation about that lost city of psi (barely discernable in the haze). One would never have guessed, given the drab visuals, that special-effects artist Richard Edlund had previously wrought the pyrotechnics in GHOSTBUSTERS (1984); executive producer Ron Howard
obviously was equally chagrined by his participation in this quickly forgotten farce. There are small compensations, though--Cyndi Lauper does warble a catchy, kitschy closing theme "There's a Hole in My Heart" (written by Richard Orange). (Profanity, substance abuse, violence.)
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- Released: 1988
- Rating: PG
- Review: Given all the respect VIBES pays the supernatural, it's tempting to say this movie must have been sired under an unlucky star. It proved to be one of the biggest Hollywood bombs of 1988. Nick Deezy (Jeff Goldblum) is a stolid museum curator endowed with "… (more)