23 October 2001 | petershelleyau
It's no surprise that this comedy written and directed by Leonard Stern sat on the shelf for 6 years. Presumably conceived as a buddy picture of attracting opposites, complete with theme song written by composer Marvin Hamlisch as a country ditty High Energy and sung by Eric Idle and Robert Wuhl, I only laughed once during the entire running time. Stern favours sight gags, making Idle clumsy and giving inanimate objects like folding out beds animation, and Wuhl his straight man, all Jewish angst, looking into or hitting the camera with his head. Both men are given romantic interests, with Idle inexplicably getting Lauren Hutton, and it's unclear whether Stern's careless lighting of Wuhl is intended to undermine his hunk appeal or just incompetence. The title stems from the plot setup where Idle inherits the most sought after art treasure in the world, so of course he and Wuhl are not alone in seeking it's location. The clue is in a puzzle left by Idle's adopted father, a Mr Hu (you can guess that gets it's worth of Abbott and Costello gag lines) who has left a riddle - "What is it they sent there yet it never went there? They sent it back because it didn't go there". The clumsiness if this is indicative of Stern's writing, which also includes Idle hiding in a vat of wine and coming out drunk, Idle and Wuhl wearing multiple layersof clothing to flee a landlady, their car being bumper hooked onto a bank robbers getaway vehicle, and Bernie Koppell styled like Adolf Hitler. Stern gives Wuhl a cello but no payoff, only an obvious joke when Bob Gunton as an interested party has him play while negotiating a threat, and a climactic double fight where there is never any doubt about the outcome. The conclusion is possibly less triumphant for the audience because the victory is so slight. My one laugh was Idle running in the opening sequence, taking someone's drinking cup, and spitting out coins.