Brenda Starr (1989)

Rating: D

Dir: Robert Ellis Miller
Star: Brooke Shields, Timothy Dalton, Diana Scarwid, Tony Peck

Completed in 1986, even in Shields-friendly Japan this sat on the shelf for three years; it took six to get out in America. You can see why: it looks as if someone tried to rescue this mess with editing and reshoots, an impression enhanced by the ever-changing aspect ratio on this print. The “artist drawn into comic-book” idea is sound, except that here, he just turns up without explanation (drugs? hypnosis? bang on the head?) and the rest of the plot staggers from incident to incident in search of…well, stunning costumes in hotshot-journalist Brenda Starr’s case.

Shields is suitably two-D as Starr, and Scarwid chews scenery magnificently as her rival; however, no-one else bothers, and Dalton simply looks embarrassed to be there. The odd flash of comic-strip wit e.g. paper cups which clink like champagne glasses, drown in something that aspires to the style of a 40’s serial, yet very obviously hasn’t any idea how to get out of the wardrobe.