When I was a kid, I spent hours and hours listening to my dad’s Bill Cosby records…and I do mean records. Say what you will about the Coz, but that was my definition of stand-up comedy. So to say that I never got the appeal of Andrew Dice Clay would be an understatement. His brand of comedy has just never struck me as funny. But, as a movie fan, I’m willing to give him a chance as an actor, from time to time. Today’s film features the Diceman against a gang of kung fu hoods, with a future Desperate Housewife along for the ride. It’s the strangely titled 1993 film “Brainsmasher…A Love Story.”
The film focuses on super-model Samantha Crain (Teri Hatcher) who receives a strange package from her botanist sister Cammy (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) while in the middle of a photo shoot. In the package is a tube which holds a red lotus flower. The instructions tell her to bring the package and meet her sister in Portland, OR.
The sisters meet in a warehouse and are quickly joined by a shaolin monk named Wu (Yuji Okumoto) and his gang of Kato-mask wearing homies. They are after the flower, which Wu believes has the power to turn him into the most powerful being on the planet.
The two ladies manage to escape and agree to meet at a church before splitting up. Cammy takes the flower, but the kung-fu dudes follow Sam. Hey, it’s Teri Hatcher, who can blame ‘em? They pursue her into a club where order is kept by a bouncer named Ed Malloy (Clay), also known as The Brainsmasher. These monks aren’t exactly Shaw Brothers quality, since Ed dipsenses with them pretty quickly.
The pair start to make their way to the rendezvous with Sam’s sister, but first they make a stop at Ed’s parent’s place. Mom (Liz Sheridan…Seinfeld’s mom on his sitcom) and Pop (Ralph Monaco) assume Sam is Ed’s new girl. After they leave, the monks drop by and the folks rather innocently give them the location of Ed’s apartment, where he and Sam have headed to get his car.
Most of what follows is Ed and Sam going from place to place, only to have to fight off the kung-fu dudes. No matter where they end up, his apartment, the police station, a sleazy club, the Red Lotus gang is always there. Eventually, Ed ends up captured by Wu and Sam and her sister must arrange for a swap…Ed for the flower. After all, Sam finds she’s in love with Ed, but they can’t let evil have the key to ultimate power, either.
“Brainsmasher…A Love Story,” resembles a love story about as much as your average episode of “Yo Gabba Gabba.” It’s a goofy action comedy, but neither the action or comedy elements really excel. It’s not all bad, though. Some of the action scenes are ok, but would’ve benefited from some stronger, Jackie Chan style moves. I mean, the villains are supposed to be shaolin warriors, but if these guys made it to the 36th chamber then I’m Bruce Lee.
One distracting aspect of the film is that it was clearly written to take place in New York City. Everything about the people and places in this film screams New Yawk! Yet the film takes place in Portland, Oregon?!? The two just don’t jive.
All that having been said, I actually found myself enjoying this film. The main reason why is Andrew Dice Clay’s performance. Hey, I’m as surprised as you are! Clay comes across as a likeable, virtuous guy who helps folks when they need it. He’s not cocky, he’s not a jerk, but he can take out just about anybody who causes trouble. He’s the kind of guy you want on your side. His performance here is one of few times I have enjoyed Clay on screen. For what it’s worth, Teri Hatcher also does a solid job with her role as well. Her spoiled model is a good counter balance to Clay’s tough nice guy.
I’m still a bit surprised that I enjoyed “Brainsmasher…A Love Story.” I mean, it’s far from great cinema, but there’s just something fun about it. Who woulda thunk that one of the world’s crudest comics would excel as a nice guy?!?