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ROLLOVER

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, July 8, 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: After ‘The Morning After’ last week, here’s another long-overlooked Jane Fonda thriller that has been given a new DVD release by the Warner Archive Collection’s manufacture-on-demand website. Here’s my Dec. 16, 1981, Deseret News review of the film. In an ironic real-life twist, like her character in this film, Fonda gave up her glamour-queen silver-screen career to marry one of the richest men in the world, Ted Turner, though they later divorced and she was back to making movies.

I like director Alan J. Pakula and I like Jane Fonda.

But I didn’t like “Rollover.”

Pakula is a fine director whose work I have admired from the first film he guided (“The Sterile Cuckoo”) to such wonderful efforts as “All the President’s Men,” “The Parallax View,” “Klute,” “Starting Over” and many others.

And though “Rollover” starts out in a way reminiscent of his other mystery-thrillers  it becomes bogged down in a ridiculous mishmash of yammering financiers and what leads to a modern-day Depression.

“Rollover” is also a strange departure for Jane Fonda, who has seemed to eschew the glamour-girl roles that identified her in the ‘60s. Her character here is all glitter and no substance, spouting intellectual dialogue but seeming to have an empty head.

The story begins with the murder of Fonda’s husband. She is a former movie queen, having given up the silver screen to marry one of the richest men in the world, whose riches are founded in a shaky petrochemical empire.

     

                           Jane Fonda, 'Rollover'

But after the murder, the subject doesn’t come up again until the picture is more than half over.

And though Fonda was supposedly happily married, she no sooner sheds her funeral garb than she falls into the arms of Kris Kristofferson.

Kristofferson is a financial troubleshooter who tries to help her solve the mystery of the petrochemical’s shakiness.

Neither of these characters is very likable and it becomes very hard to care about whether Fonda will have to give up her minks and her chauffeured limo.

In fact, “Rollover” begins to look like a lazy attempt by one and all to merely get through the shooting schedule.

     

Maybe they all realized too late that David Shaber’s script was too big a mess to salvage. A pity, since Shaber’s previous efforts (“Last Embrace,” “The Warriors,” “Nighthawks”) have all been interesting, uniquely diverting stories.

The production is glossy and the cinematography beautiful, but like Fonda’s character, it’s all gloss and beauty without an ounce of depth.

Rated a mild R for profanity (there is also some PG sex and violence), “Rollover” will probably do at the box-office what it dose on the screen — roll over and play dead.