MGM // 1990 // 93 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // February 9th, 2012
"They say that everybody in the world has somebody, somewhere who looks just like they do."
In one of those movie coincidences, criminals Sidney (Michael Caine, Deathtrap) and Garald (Roger Moore, Live and Let Die) look just like Doctor Hicklar (also Caine) and Sir John Bevistock (also Moore), two scientists working on a fusion project. In another of those movie coincidences, the lowlifes have a friend (Sally Kirkland, Private Benjamin) who just happens to know the scientists have a secret stash of diamonds in a safe deposit box. Naturally, Sidney and Garald set about impersonating their more fortunate doppelgangers to scoop up the diamonds for themselves.
Today, biometrics could foil a scheme like this, but in 1990 (when Bullseye! hit screens) it was still at least slightly plausible that the underworld pair could pull off a heist by posing as their twins. Even so, it seems like an unlikely caper film. Sidney very obviously hates the healthy tofu lifestyle that Hickler lives by, and he and his partner have a tendency to argue and brawl at just about every occasion. In the worst instance, Sidney and Garald get into a brawl at a scientific conference and wind up in the headlines -- as Hicklar and Bevistock. Eventually, government agencies ask the two imposters to keep up the guise -- or else.
All this, of course, is played for laughs. Early on, there are a few funny bits, Caine's hapless Sidney is released from prison only to be left in the wake of the first bus he tries to catch outside and gets to his old home just in time to see it torn down. His misadventures are accompanied by a self-deprecating narration that's occasionally amusing. The movie quickly wears thin, though.
Bullseye! looks good on paper. The idea of two buddies -- one suave and one rough -- getting involved in a caper isn't new to Roger Moore; that's the basic premise of The Persuaders!, his last TV series before becoming James Bond. True, it might have been better to reunite Moore with Tony Curtis, but in his absence Michael Caine's a good choice. Moore and Caine work together well, and the movie has the requisite improbable twists and turns of a good comic thriller. However, the script is just weak, with too much of the comedy coming from things like humping dogs and the mystery of which of the lowlife duo fathered a lovely CIA agent, who just happens to have the last name of Fleming (Moore's daughter, here called Deborah Barrymore, who made her screen debut in The Persuaders!). The actors nail any good line or bit they get, and there are some good moments, but Bullseye! could have been a lot better.
MGM's full frame standard definition image quality is good but not exceptional. Modern viewers will be put off by the realization that this is a television print and not the original theatrical version.
Bullseye! is a small-batch release, with even the DVD cover looking slapdash. This also means the DVD won't work in all players. Amazon.com apparently didn't have enough confidence in Bullseye! to give it a "rent" option on Instant Video. Even in barebones form, I can't fault MGM for releasing it, but the movie just turns out disappointing.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13