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Hexed attempts parody and farce but fails at both

Written and Directed by Alan Spencer.
Starring Arye Gross, Claudia Christian,
and Adrienne Shelly.
Loews Charles.
By Bill Jackson
Opinion Editor

, but here the comedy is intentional.

The second is an unabashed willingness to offend the hypersensitive. Jokes about Jews, priests, blacks, and alcoholics guarantee that every audience member will be offended at least once. In 1993, that alone is reason to praise a film.

The third thing is a cast of quirky supporting characters, including Claudia Christian, a funny and campy find as fictional supermodel Hexina. The main problem with Hexed is a severe identity crisis. At times (and in the TV and print ads) it strives to be an all-out parody in the style of Airplane! or The Naked Gun. At other times, it wants to be a traditional farce. The two genres are not comfortably mixed, and the result is a strangely muddled comedy.

The all-out parody only works in the aforementioned sex scene, but there it works amazingly well. Everywhere else in the movie, the parody seems tacked-on. For example, there is a mock perfume commercial in which Hexina is buffed, sanded, and vacuumed with a Dustbuster. That scene is randomly inserted into a section of the movie which has a decidedly different overall tone.

Those parts of the film which are played as farce are more successful. The high point is a sequence in which the hero, no matter how much he tries, cannot throw a dead body off of a roof. It is an amusing bit, but, like the rest of the film, it is hurt by the fact that it isn't surrounded by scenes with a similar comic tone.

What lifts the film above the level of a mediocre farce are the supporting characters. They are as quirky and funny as the hero is mundane. The Hexina character is surprising and fun, and she becomes even more interesting as the film goes on. Also fun are the police officers, including the chief, who tells one suspect during an interrogation, "I'm divorced with no charisma. I've got nowhere to go." Then there is a priceless scene in which an officer asks for the hero's driver's license. "You're wearing your hair differently than in the photo. It looks better now." The hero asks, "Why are you telling me this?" The cop answers, deadpan, "Because I'm secure enough in my masculinity that I can give compliments to men."

Unfortunately, there isn't much room in this overstuffed and wildly uneven comedy for many moments like that one. An overlong set-up (it takes half an hour for the plot to even budge) weakens the comedy, and the wild unevenness of tone keeps you off-balance when you should be laughing. Unless you're really interested in seeing the first film ever to mark the passage of time with the growth of a Chia Pet rather than the traditional moving clock hands, Hexed will be more fun on video than in the theaters.