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Yves Robert's 1972 French farce, The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe, about an innocent musician set up as a fall guy in a war between two factions of an intelligence bureau, remade on this side of the Atlantic as a vehicle for Tom Hanks. Francis Veber's original screenplay consisted mainly of a series of clever setups for the physical comedy talents of star Pierre Richard; Robert Klane's American translation retains Veber's structure, but it settles uneasily on the back of a verbal comic like Hanks—the movie keeps setting up gags that never quite materialize, and Hanks, unable to fill out his underwritten part with slapstick, is left stranded. Without any big laughs to even out the film's tone, the balance gradually shifts to the grim paranoia of the basic conception, and the movie that emerges seems oddly bleak and melancholic. Stan Dragoti directed, finding little room for the character touches that redeemed his Mr. Mom; the distractingly handsome cinematography is the work of Richard H. Kline. With Dabney Coleman, Lori Singer, Charles Durning, Jim Belushi, Carrie Fisher, and Ed Herrmann.

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