• christophaskell10 November 2003
    Enjoyable if you stumble across it...
    C. Thomas Howell, star of 'Soul Man' and 'The Outsiders', among many other 80's classics, tries his hand at a something a little different in this made for TV suspense thriller. Potentially miscast, Howell pulls off quite a strong performance as the All-American businessman letting his hair down and acting like a rebellious teenager again. Right along side him for every mishap are his uptight business-friend (Nancy Allen from 'Robocop' fame) and the instigator of all this trouble, Linda Fiorentino. Playing a B-movie `scream queen' who's wanted for murder, Fiorentino steals every scene she's in, proving early on that she could even shine in crappy films. Being a TV film, it was pretty cheesy, and not very entertaining, but it did keep me guessing until the last moment, which ultimately is the goal of these types of films. Not one to be in any hurry to watch, but enjoyable if you stumble across it. Rating: 23/40
  • Andy (film-critic)14 November 2007
    Chips? Check. Adult Beverage? Check. Acting on Impulse? Check.
    "Acting on Impulse" works, as previously mentioned, because nobody is trying to upstage anyone and this film isn't trying to be bigger then the VHS box it was bought in. The situation is simple. Someone has died, horror star Linda Fiorentino takes a vacation, she arrives at a hotel where C. Thomas Howell is having a sales conference, there are shady characters afoot, death knocks at the door with some steamy random scenes, new friends are introduced, old ones are questioned, and finally there is a infamous shootout which brings all our curiosities to rest. In one sentence this film could be summarized, but it isn't the shortness of the plot that makes this film work, it is the surroundings. The jokes are dry, but like an afternoon martini it quenches. As current films force recycled humor, this film takes that sub-par standard and rejuvenates it. There is something fresh about the humor in this film. Isaac Hayes plays the police detective on the hunt for the supposed murderer, and he couldn't act his way out of a paper bag in this film, but for some strange reason it fits with the overall tones and tenacity of the film. Nobody is trying to push the limits here, but it feels fresh and original in the same sense. There are scenes that stand out in my mind, but in your average film would be just boring and cliché. The scene where Howell steals his coworker's briefcase has been used so often, but in this film Howell comes across as the semi anti-hero. We root for the underdog, which is Howell, and yet we have no reason to. He isn't your typical stand-up main lead, he cheats, smokes, drinks, dances, and even gives the report of a lifetime, but that isn't what this film is about. Upon further investigation, "Acting on Impulse" is a double-take film. It is a film of trickery and deceit, but in all the ways that make you ask for more. It would compare to going to see "Hostel", but discovering it was about romance and not torture. A different take, but perhaps a pleasant surprise.

    "Acting on Impulse" sets up as your typical "who-dun-it" horror, slasher film where the characters are over-the-top and the situations absolutely are not feasible. We think we know our characters, but then we are uprooted – taken to a new environment, new characters, new situations and the film we once started with has transformed into something completely different. In this case, we went from murder/mystery to those types of films where the main character is on an unknown journey of self-discovery. For about 45-plus minutes we move away from the murder, we are reminded slightly, but for the most part it is all about Howell's life in a dog-eat-dog world. It is about Howell, not Fiorentino, which is tough because the two have this amazing chemistry together. Add in Nancy Allen, the wild card in the group, and we have three people that we think we know, but really (because of our constantly changing focus) they are miles apart. The characters are what make this film work. Our discussion today has been mainly about them because the body that surrounds "Acting on Impulse" is used, dated, cliché, and stuffy – but it works. Director Sam Irvin must have seen that he didn't have Oscar caliber work in his desk, but a film that was fun, friendly, devilish, and engrossing all the same. This film is one of those rare examples of films that work with what they have, without seeming cheap or "independent".

    Overall, I have to give credit to the actors again. While many of them have never seen the glory of the big-budget silver screen, they worked well together in this small feature that hasn't seen the DVD light yet. This is a fun movie. It was a random feature that I thoroughly enjoyed and actually craved more. I loved the ending, it was provocative, yet didn't pull that cheesy double-punch that has become the norm for these samplings of films. This film seemed real, and in the same sense it didn't. This is a Hollywood TV movie, actors playing for fun, a plot that may have plenty of holes, but doesn't mind standing up to the rest of the crowd. I would not have any problems showing this film to my friends, or recommending it as a summer watch. It is this random film that caught my attention and hasn't left my mind since the final credits. It feels incredibly like a 80s film, and while I will probably be laughed at in the film community, this little feature is my guilty pleasure. I loved our unknowing trio and the troubles that follow them. Like "Acting on Impulse", I have no shame in claiming this film as a great unknown independent feature. It was no crowing achievement in film, but it made do with what it had and gave this film junkie nearly two hours of great cinema.

    Grade: **** out of *****
  • merklekranz19 January 2011
    5/10
    Watchable mish-mash film ........
    The plot is scatter shot, part murder mystery, part romance, and mostly goofy shenanigans. This uneasy mix makes "Acting on Impulse" so uneven that if it weren't for some darkly humorous dialog, a great looking black 1954 Corvette, and a few decent cameo appearances, the movie would be totally forgettable. Paul Bartel plays a movie director, which is really typecasting, since he was a director. Isaac Hayes is in and out of the picture from time to time as a detective, and Mary Woronov is a plain jane hotel desk clerk. Linda Fiorentino plays a second tier actress who is wanted for murdering a producer, and she eventually hooks up with C. Thomas Howell, and Nancy Allen at a pharmaceutical convention. The film has a very claustrophobic feel, as most of the story takes place in a hotel. It is definitely watchable, but the mish-mash script is constantly dragging it down, and oh yes there is a surprise ending. - MERK
  • pablo64916 February 1999
    9/10
    A little pretty film
    I found this film very funny, unpredictable and entertaining.The actors play all very Well and Linda Fiorentino was terribly sexy. It hasn't a very logic plot, but, who cares? It has also some Cameo (Adam Ant and others I don't remember the name) A little pretty film
  • David N.12 March 1999
    2/10
    Oh yeah, reeeeeal scary!
    I'll give credit where credit is due, and say that Linda Fiorentino gives a good performance as a hard-drinking actress who does what she wants. She's brash, sassy, hard-edged, and very sexy; she is much better than this film deserves.

    But that is IT. This dull suspense film is a fragmented mess, attempting at once to be a stalker thriller, a murder thriller, a tale of loyalty and betrayal, and a steamy erotic thriller. The film, my friends, isn't thrilling in the slightest.

    For instance, who thought of casting C. Thomas Howell as a desirable leading man? He is not ugly, but for crying out loud, it looks as though Fiorentino's tough-cookie goddess is getting it on with a kindergarten teacher. Howell has neither the authority or screen presence to fill the leading man role.

    The script is by far the worst aspect of the film. There is no tension as Fiorentino's character gets eerie phone calls, there is no mystery concerning her guilt in the murders that are the focus of the film, there is no sense of liberation as Fiorentino gets wimpy Howell to lose his inhibitions.

    Look for interesting but poorly-done cameos by Adam Ant and Issac Hayes, and one really, really good sex scene between Howell and Fiorentino. Besides that, my first impulse would be to put this sorry piece of trash down and go rent something else.
  • loupgarou-214 January 2001
    Linda makes the movie
    Linda is sexy as usual. A decent little movie considering that it is a made for cable movie. The plot is pedestrian, the dialog is average for this level movie and Howell is a little weak, as usual. However, Linda delivers pretty well. Her role is not nearly as strong as the one in The Last Seduction, but she is always fun to watch. All in all, not a bad way to kill 93 minutes.
  • Flash-314 October 1998
    2/10
    Plot iffy at best
    Perhaps not my genre but plot was horrible as was acting by Nancy Allen and Linda Farentino. C. Thomas also seemed uncomfortable in role of being seduced here (while on marijuana? why did this need to be included? this weakened plot considerably). Also Farentino's charac. would have been better had she had more respect for a relationship. Would does movie try to say? not much.