28 March 2017 | Wuchakk
Likable in some ways, but too nice, too low-key, too meh
Released in 1980, "Hero at Large" is a drama/romance about a struggling actor in Manhattan (John Ritter) who gets a gig pretending to be Captain Avenger and signing autographs. While trying to start a relationship with a stand-offish woman across the hall (Anne Archer) he unwittingly stops a crime dressed up as the superhero and becomes an overnight sensation in the New York media, albeit anonymously. Can he keep his motives pure or will he sacrifice his integrity for filthy lucre? Bert Convy, Kevin McCarthy and Harry Bellaver have peripheral roles.
Ritter was in the best physical shape in his life when this was shot, riding the height of his popularity with Three's Company (1976-1984). Unfortunately a great film career was not to be (the only other movie I remember his being in is 1996' "Sling Blade"). He's a thoroughly likable protagonist, but his character comes off too good to be true. His too-nice approach fails to stir up the romantic interest of the babe across the hall, who apparently prefers sharp studs in sports cars to puppy dogs with infatuated eyes.
The New York City locations are great and the movie works as a period piece for 1979 (when it was shot), but important points aren't driven home as they should've been. They're there, and you'll discern them if you reflect on the movie, they're just not driven home while viewing. In the meantime you have to endure an uninteresting non-romance that may or may not blossom. Archer shines with her smiley eyes, but her character is so aloof that it's unbelievable that Steve (Ritter) would continue pursuing her. She's clearly NOT interested. Meanwhile, Convy looks great and is unintentionally amusing in his late 70's goggles.
The picture runs 98 minutes and was shot in Manhattan and Queens.