Case Number 15735: Small Claims Court

VIBES

Sony // 1988 // 99 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // February 18th, 2009

The Charge

Put your hands on our hands and feel the...VIBES.

The Case

This is a movie from 1988 almost every one involved with wishes you would forget. Vibes was intended to make pop singer Cyndi Lauper a movie star, and it ended up only serving as a paycheck for Jeff Golblum (The Fly). In it the singer and the well-known character actor play psychics hired by Peter Falk (Columbo) to help find his son who is lost in Ecuador. That's all a ruse though, because he is actually looking for a hidden temple that is the source of all the psychic energy in the world. The whole thing plays out as if Romancing the Stone were remade with a kooky couple and played entirely for laughs.

Actually, there is a potentially good movie stuck in here. It gets mangled by becoming something other than what it should have been by trying to go Raiders of the Lost Ark in the last half. The idea of Lauper and Goldblum as psychics trying to make their way in the world is a unique and solid idea for a romantic comedy. Cyndi Lauper doesn't act so much as simply lend her presence in the film. She's good at comedy, which is no shock considering her music career is partly based on tongue-in-cheek delivery of songs like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" or "She Bop." Her character talks to a mystical "imaginary" friend named Louise who knows the future, and she gets to wear loud fashions and extreme hairdos. Goldblum does his usual thing as well, and seems to be having a good time playing a man who can touch things and know their history. It would be more interesting to watch these two try to make it in the world, because they live in a state of always knowing far too much about what is really going on around them. Yet instead the film decides to go on a treasure hunt in Ecuador rather than let us see them work in average situations. Luckily there's no pretense of playing any of this straight. Goldblum, Lauper, and Falk don't take any of this seriously, and they seem to know the audience should just have a giggle or two as we go along. Fans of Julian Sands (Warlock) may find it fun he has a short part as one of the bad guys on a rival treasure hunt.

The DVD is part of Sony's "Martini Movies" series, which feature campy cult films given somewhat bare bones treatment save for two martini recipes. I guess the idea is if you get drunk enough maybe the films will seem more compelling and border on the classic. Their marketing tagline for the series is "one part top-shelf martini, two parts celluloid history, all garnished with a hint of camp." The truth is these are movies big stars made and then they weren't too well received.

The transfer for Vibes looks all right with bright colors, but the image is soft and grainy. The two channel Dolby mix sounds almost monaural, but there are no problems with hiss or pops. The only extras are the martini recipes and the original trailer.

Vibes has an amiable "I LOVE THE '80S" atmosphere, and for most people that will be the main draw. It's a chance to see Cyndi Lauper teamed up with a young Jeff Goldblum barely working their way through a lighter-than-air comedy outdone by the far superior Romancing the Stone. With enough martinis, this one could really be a lot more fun, so stock up on liquor before giving Vibes a whirl. It's not a bad movie when you weigh it for entertainment value, so nice to see it on DVD. Golblum and Lauper actually make this one worth a look if only to witness the quirky pairing for the big screen. It's the type of film you nod and smile through then forget 30 minutes later.

Review content copyright © 2009 Brett Cullum; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks
* Martini Minutes

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0096378/combined

* CyndiLauper.com
http://www.cyndilauper.com/intro.html

* Jeff Goldblum Fan Site
http://www.goldblum.com/