The latest direct-to-video offering from the Gallic producers of THE MAID, MAY WINE and STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, NEAR MISSES is a desperate screwball farce which mistakes mix-ups and slamming doors for true wit.
Rather incongruously, it begins with a violent break-in at defense contractor Techtronics Industries, with legions of cops shot to death by the intruder. Claude Jobert (Judge Reinhold), a Techtronics employee instrumental to a top-secret satellite project, is thus summoned from the Phoenix home he
shares with his spacey vegetarian wife Molly (Cecile Paoli) to the LA sprawl where he lives with glamorous blonde Maggie (Rebecca Pauly)--his other wife. Yes, Claude is a world-class bigamist, and with a mistress, Toni (Muriel Combeau), on the side. To make time for her, Claude pulls the ruse that
fuels the plot: a Marine Reservist, he signs on for his annual two-week hitch at the US Embassy in Paris. Once there he commands lowly American trooper Colin Phipps (Casey Siemaszko) to assume his identity and rank.
While Claude enjoys a tropical idyll with Toni, Colin takes his place in Paris, only to be kidnapped by the Boris-Badenov-level stereotypes from the Soviet Embassy, who think he's the VIP Jobert. By the time the commies realize their mistake, the real Claude has returned to Paris in a panic; both
his wives, each having heard of her beloved husband's seizure, are in the city trying to secure his release. The Russians, afraid of drawing Kremlin wrath over snatching the wrong guy, urge Colin Phipps to continue masquerading as Jobert as they force him to "escape." Meanwhile the US diplomats
come to suspect the real Claude of being some kind of double agent, due to his strange behaviour. Worse, the two Mrs. Joberts keep crossing each other's path, as Claude desperately tries to make sure they don't learn the truth about him.
And that's just the beginning. NEAR MISSES pumps out a torrent of misunderstandings and evasions, with all the participants, plus KGB, CIA, an assassin and a blustering blowhard of a Marine sergeant scrambling like NOISES OFF at 78 RPM, waving guns and punctuating their entrances and exits with
expletives when the screenplay comes up with nothing remotely clever to say. The style's as tired as all the gags about Mikhail Gorbachev's birthmark, and characters run the gamut from annoying to irksome to pestiferous. Judge Reinhold mixes his off-center charm with a cloying smarminess fitting
for a protagonist one is never sure whether to like or despise, but Siemaszko brings very little to his runty military role; he's Sad Sack without being particularly sad or sacked. The ladies are all pretty and dumb, holding up their low end of comedy with multiple catfights and repeated groin
Shot in France, NEAR MISSES is the latest in Chrysalide Films' series of trite, low-budget romantic romps toplining second-tier Yank actors. (Profanity, adult situations, sexual situations, violence)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: The latest direct-to-video offering from the Gallic producers of THE MAID, MAY WINE and STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, NEAR MISSES is a desperate screwball farce which mistakes mix-ups and slamming doors for true wit. Rather incongruously, it begins with a violent b… (more)