Lost & Found (1999)
Directed by Jeff Pollack
Cast: David Spade, Sophie Marceau, Artie Lange, Patrick Bruel, Mitchell Whitfield, Estelle Harris, Marla Gibbs, Ever Carradine, Martin Sheen, Jon Lovitz.
1999 97 minutes
Rated: (for profanity, potty humor, and the comedic torture of a dog).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, April 24, 1999.
Comedian David Spade, he of the nerdy, skinny, and practically cheekless type, has made a film career (if you can call it that) out of playing supporting "friend" roles in low-brow comedies, particularly with the late Chris Farley (1995's "Tommy Boy," 1996's "Black Sheep"). In "Lost & Found," directed by Jeff Pollack, Spade is the main star, which comes as somewhat of a problem since he isn't very funny (admittedly, neither was Farley). To make matters worse, the film is such a rip-off of 1998's box-office hit, "There's Something About Mary," via the screenplay by J.B. Cook, Mark Meeks, and David Spade, that the Farrelly Brothers should consider sueing on the basis of plagarism.
Spade stars as Italian restauranteur Dylan(!?), a man whom has gone through one unfortunate relationship after another with women. In the prologue, we see him have an argument with his latest girlfriend (Ever Carradine), only to discover that they are in the dressing room of a strip joint and she is about to go out and perform. Living in an idyllic Los Angeles apartment building, Dylan immediately grows infatuated with his new sexy French neighbor, Lila (Sophie Marceau). Knowing that she's way out of his league but still desperate to get to know her, he fakes the kidnapping of her terrier dog, Jack, so that they can spend time together looking for him. Things get even stickier when Jack swallows an expensive diamond ring and the doctor informs Dylan that the only way to retrieve it is to wait for Jack to, well, you know...
Credit "Lost & Found" for one thing: it does have a few big laughs and a couple small ones (which is more than I can say for some of the recent so-called "comedies"). But detract point since, aside from this, there are long stretches that were so dull and unfunny that I was almost bored to tears. Luckily, everytime I got a little bit too discouraged there would be a funny moment that would make me laugh, therefore forcing me to give the film a still very bad * 1/2 rating. One of the brightest comedic moments involves a little boy at a pet store who proves that he has his speech all made out for the police involving a false case of child molestation. We also must endure Spade impersonating Neil Diamond as he lip-syncs to "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show," an excellent song, but not brought to humorous life. It should be noted, though, that this scene does end with perhaps the film's largest guffaw (which will remain unmentioned in case you see this movie, even though you really shouldn't).
Most of the other funny moments come from the dog, Jack, who really gets a licking but keeps on ticking (in the course of the 97-minute running time, he is thrown out a window; dropped to the floor on his back; literally thrown into rooms; put in the dryer; etc.). Too bad this whole dog subplot is lifted directly from the aforementioned "There's Something About Mary," and even the dogs look alike. Not only that, but the end credits come complete with the whole cast singing to a popular song (ring any bells?). And if you've seen the television ads for the film, you'll know that it is in the exact same format as "...Mary." Obviously, the T.V. spots are due to the studio, Warer Bros.', desperation, since they know the movie is most likely to not make a blip at the box-office. And director Pollack should have realized that if you are going to blatantly copy another movie, at least don't make the similarities so downright obvious and shameful!
"Lost & Found" runs at a deadeningly slow pace, and pretty much is a black hole in the art of filmmaking. The plotting is so manufactured and predictable that you know what's going to happen before you walk into the theater, and then you have to suffer through the ridiculous romance between the odd couple of Spade and the beautiful, charismatic Marceau. They look and act as different as night and day, and Marceau has to be nearly a foot taller than Spade, which does add a bit of unintentional humor to the penultimate scene. Although she could have done much, much better following her first American film appearance in 1995's Academy Award-winning "Braveheart," at least she shows that she does have a sense of humor, can be occassionally pretty funny, and yet still takes her performance seriously. Spade might be the "star" of "Lost & Found," but Marceau is the real star, if you know what I mean.
©1999 by Dustin Putman