short takes (4)

Richard Donner is most effective when directing fantasy films, from the blackness of "The Omen" to the sunshine of "Superman." Now, in a big shift of gears, he has tried a folksy comedy-drama. At the beginning of Inside Moves the hero, played by John Savage, tries and fails to commit suicide. Recovering, he makes friends with some other misfits, and enters their little world, which revolves around a saloon where they hang out.

We're supposed to respond to the inner decency and shared humanity of these people, but the performances and the direction are so uneven that the story never holds together. It all seems tacky, somehow -- with lots of hear t, but very little art.

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