Carpool (1996)

Pam Grier as a transsexual in ESCAPE FROM L.A.?  Ellen Barkin as a 
Sports Babe sportscaster in THE FAN??  Marlon Brando impersonating 
a Polynesian circus tent in THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU???  We've had 
no shortage of strange sights this summer and, yet, none may be as 
weird as what ends CARPOOL, an excruciatingly dumb kiddie flick 
that puts five brats and two adults (Tom Arnold and David Paymer) 
in a minivan and chases them by the police under the guise of a 
hostage situation.  Tom Arnold plays the crazed carnival owner with 
a gun, while Paymer attempts an exasperated advertising executive. 
Together, they provide the running commentary during such silly 
set-pieces as a mosey through the middle of an indoor shopping 
mall.  Groan, he says, remembering that THE BLUES BROTHERS did it 
first and better. 

Only in the final reel does CARPOOL warrant a walk-out.  A runaway 
Ferris wheel signals the beginning of the end-- an atrocious two-
part finale where the story tries to get serious.  Paymer playing 
Spiderman and climbing a carnival ride is a sight to behold, but 
none is more strange, more weird, and more utterly unexpected than 
that of Rod Steiger's grumpy grocery store owner expounding upon 
the delights of a chocolate donut.  Don't ask.  The movie is bad, 
the endings are terrible, and, after a mere ten minutes of screen 
time, Mr. Steiger has managed to sink even lower than his Cuban-
accented turn in the stinky SPECIALIST.  Directed by Academy of 
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Arthur Hiller, who 
proves what Paymer's character says on the subject of carpools:  
"They're not supposed to be fun."  (Rated "PG"/93 min.)
Grade: F

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: September 2, 1996

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