Accidental Hero (1992) starring Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, Joan Cusack, Kevin J. O'Connor, Maury Chaykin directed by Stephen Frears Movie Review

Accidental Hero (1992)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Dustin Hoffman in Accidental Hero (1992)

The Angel of Flight 104

Bernie LaPlante (Dustin Hoffman - Hook) is a loser, a small time crook who most likely will end up prison and whose wife has left him whilst his son is tired of his lies. But one night Bernie gets to be a hero when a plane crashes on an empty highway and he manages to pop open the emergency exit and helping people out before vanishing into the night, missing one shoe which he lost during his heroics. TV newswoman Gale Gayley (Geena Davis - A League of Their Own) is one of those who owe their lives to the mysterious hero and along with her boss put out an appeal for him to come forwards. Except John Bubber (Andy Garcia - Internal Affairs) comes forwards to claim the reward having learned all about Bernie's heroics having met shortly after the plane crash. The question is will Bernie be acknowledged for being a hero and will the press see through John's lies.

There is no definitive time length that a movie should last but generally comedies which come in between 90 and 100 minutes appear to work better than those which are longer. As such at 117 minutes "Accidental Hero" or just "Hero" as it is known in other countries is longer than most successful comedies and sadly it isn't one which manages to sustain that amount of time. It is the movies major problem because after a fun, reasonably snappy build up it then gets bogged down in over long conversations and superfluous scenes which causes the comedy to lose its rhythm and drag out the movie to longer than it needed to be.

Geena Davis in Accidental Hero (1992)

Now "Accidental Hero" starts well enough with a snappy scene of Bernie in court where whilst no one is watching he steals money out of his lawyers purse and then uses it to pay back his lawyer money she loaned him, although then takes most of it back when he says he is taking his son out for lunch. It is screwball with Hoffman doing a fantastic job with an over the top performance which makes you warm to this crooked wheeler dealer who will sneak out of the back of a restaurant with his son so that he doesn't have to pay. The trouble is that having set up the character of Bernie being a dodgy guy we then get more scenes which reiterate the same thing and they are superfluous.

This happens again when we meet TV newswoman Gale Gayley who is interviewing a wealthy business man who... well I won't say what other than to say it is shocking and funny. But it goes around the houses as we meet her colleagues which is a shame as with the likes of Chevy Chase and Stephen Tobolowsky it is all snappy but draws it out.

The irony is that the build up is when "Accidental Hero" is at its best as the dialogue is snappy and funny and the characters are purposefully over the top. Once we have the crash, Bernie's heroics and then John's duplicity in stealing his fame it gets really drawn out with too much one on one dialogue rather than letting the dialogue ricochet between the characters. Not only that we again get scenes which feel superfluous, reiterating things which have already been established.

What this all boils down to is that "Accidental Hero" is fun with some nice over the top performances and some snappy dialogue but it is a case less would have been more.