Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Lost and Found

By Marc Savlov

APRIL 26, 1999: 

D: Jeff Pollack; with David Spade, Sophie Marceau, Patrick Bruel, Artie Lange, Mitchell Whitfield, Martin Sheen. (PG-13, 100 min.)

Former Saturday Night Live smarm-pimp Spade has done well for himself since leaving Lorne Michael's tutelage. A series of comedy features with the late Chris Farley and a trenchant move to an ensemble piece on network television's Just Shoot Me have kept him successfully in the public eye without becoming a strain on anyone's comic vision. Still, the elfin Spade is a comedian best taken in small doses (his snide hipster routine can grate at the best of times, sort of like catching your funnybone in a chipper/shredder), and as a full-fledged romantic lead he suffers from a severe case of "yeah, right." You can hardly see this little blonde smarmbo carrying a bowling ball, much less a whole film. Pollack, who created The Fresh Prince of Bel Air before moving up to the superlative Tupac Shakur feature Above the Rim in 1993, has a deft touch with this sort of romantic fluff, but coupled with Spade's WASPy dialect and the story's obviousness, Lost & Found is mainly lost. Spade plays restaurateur Dylan Ramsey, who falls for the new girl at his apartment complex, a sexy cellist named Lila Dubois (Marceau, luminous despite the material) newly arrived from France. Too bad he's the sort of guy whose close friends are given to saying, "You know, even I didn't like you very much at first." What's a guy to do? In Dylan's case, he absconds with Lila's dog, a cairn terrier called Jack, under the pretense of helping her find the missing pooch. When the dog apparently swallows a wedding ring belonging to Dylan's best friend and partner, the whole charade takes on epic proportions, with Dylan simultaneously wooing Lila and waiting impatiently for Jack to, ah, return the precious stone. Into this There's Something About Mary-ish predicament wanders Lila's ex-lover, the slimy Frenchman René (Bruel), who is intent on winning back the girl and making Dylan his patsy. There are plenty of oddball antics on display, but none more disturbing than Dylan's own patsy, his kitchen assistant Wally, a titanic slob who loves his friend so much that he dyes his hair Spade-blonde and begins dressing like him. The creepy thing is that you quickly begin to suspect that the role was written for Spade's old friend Farley; the guy even looks a bit like that overweight dervish of a comic, and it's borderline tacky to have continued the role after the comedian's tragic death. Perhaps it's coincidence, but nevertheless, the role offers fewer chuckles than it does Freudian heebie-jeebies. Slight in almost every way, Lost & Found is an inoffensive, eminently forgettable bit of fluff, yet more proof of my theory that Spade should quit his comedy gig and tackle the title role in Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, already.
1.5 stars


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