The Adventures of Ford Fairlane

Andrew Dice Clay’s debut (and swan song) as a film star — as Ford Fairlane, a “rock ‘n roll detective” trying to solve the murder of a disk jockey — is an arrogantly empty movie with a lot of neon light. It’s a shrimp MTV version of Chinatown, with a comparably convoluted plot, and the script is specifically tailored to Dice’s shtick. The result is an exercise in cinema interruptus; we’re always aware that Dice never gets as down and dirty as he could. (The audience just fills in all the filthy dialogue that’s missing.) As an actor, Dice is sometimes likable — he keeps himself amused. But he’s stuck in this ghastly hybrid that never gets going and finally makes him look foolish. Rent it cheap and you can enjoy such guest stars as Gilbert Gottfried, Ed O’Neill (who survives the stupid things the script has him do), Morris Day, Lauren Holly, and Tone-Loc. The other performers, by no means negligible, include Robert Englund, Wayne Newton, Priscilla Presley, David Patrick Kelly, Sheila E., Maddie Corman, Vince Neil, and Brandon Call, but they take a back seat to Dice’s smug persona. The film’s tie-in hit song was supposed to be Billy Idol’s “Cradle of Love,” but the movie took so long to complete that by the time it reached theaters the song was already old hat. Ford Fairlane was a resounding flop, giving anti-Dice groups a few good nights of sleep, but it enjoyed repeat business on video, where it possibly belonged in the first place.

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