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Maverick Reviews

Cynical and bloated, MAVERICK is a comic western whose high-powered cast does very little but looks damned fine doing it. Even fans of the vintage TV show may find it trying. Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) is a fancy man who's down on his luck and needs some quick cash so he can play in a high-stakes riverboat poker game. Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster) is a scheming con artist with a flirty manner, and a pretty fair hand at cards herself. Zane Cooper (James Garner) is a weatherbeaten lawman with a sneaky smile and an irresistibly gracious manner. After a memorable stagecoach ride--the driver dies and it's almost too late before anyone notices--the mismatched trio shoot, gamble, lie, and wisecrack their way across the old West, and finally wind up together on the lavish Lauren Belle, where the Commodore (James Coburn) is playing host to the best gamblers alive. Based on the 1950s TV series starring James Garner, MAVERICK--a summer hit by-the-numbers--relies shamelessly on the nostalgia factor; it's noisy and filled with twists and turns, but it never seems like a real movie, because the characters are all written in shorthand. Garner and Gibson deliver lazy performances: Garner is charming and gallant, Gibson flashes his winning smile and widens his baby blues. Foster--by far the best of the bunch--seems oddly out of place by comparison; Annabelle is all fluff, and Foster doesn't fluff well: she always seems slightly embarassed. Formula Hollywood filmmaking at its shallowest.