The Man with One Red Shoe (1985) starring Tom Hanks, Dabney Coleman, Lori Singer, Charles Durning, Carrie Fisher, Edward Herrmann, James Belushi directed by Stan Dragoti - movie review on The Movie Scene

The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)   2/52/52/52/52/5


Tom Hanks in The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)

Mismatched Shoes for a Mismatched Movie

I've said it before but Tom Hanks' movie career during the 80s was a rollercoaster ride of good and bad or at least forgettable. "The Man with One Red Shoe" resides in the forgettable group with its farce about an innocent man being tracked by CIA agents who have mistaken him for a spy. But it's not Hanks's fault that "The Man with One Red Shoe" is forgettable as with a good cast which includes Lori Singer, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Jim Belushi, Carrie Fisher and Ed Herrmann not a single one of them manages to make this in the slightest bit interesting or entertaining. I can only imagine that French movie "Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire" which "The Man with One Red Shoe" is a remake of was ultimately better as I can't believe it could be worse.

In order to become Director of the CIA, Deputy Director Cooper (Dabney Coleman - WarGames) plans to smear the name of current CIA Director Ross (Charles Durning - To Be or Not to Be). Knowing that Cooper has been bugging his home and offices Ross decides to set him a trap by feeding him false information. That false information comes in the shape of Richard Drew (Tom Hanks - Bachelor Party) an innocent man picked out from a crowd by Ross's second in command who makes out he is an important spy. Desperate to discover what Drew does Cooper and his team of agents start trailing him who with no clue of all of this going on around him continues to lead his normal life as a musician.

Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher in The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)

"The Man with One Red Shoe" aims to be a farce as we are supposed to be amused by the innocent Richard Drew drawn into a CIA power conflict without him realising that around him he has CIA agents trying to track him, monitor his calls and so on and so forth. Plus to make things supposedly more amusing is that Drew ends up falling for one of the CIA agents who is tracking him. Unfortunately all of this isn't that funny and just a convoluted mess of weak cliches and set piece scenes.

The trouble is that it feels like director Stan Dragoti wasn't sure how to direct "The Man with One Red Shoe", whether to go for big slapstick or subtle amusement and so sits on the fence giving a bit of both. So scenes which are based around slapstick are amusing but not that funny and when he goes for a bit of subtle humour it's not very subtle or funny. It makes "The Man with One Red Shoe" a less than funny movie which works its way through cliches till it all finally comes to an end. And as such, as it feels like a movie going through the motions with little about it which is memorable except for Carrie Fisher in animal print underwear being probably the most memorable thing.

The knock on effect of this is that Tom Hanks and all the other well known stars deliver quite flat performances. Yes Hanks is likeable as the unwitting Drew even though he is having an affair with his best friend's wife but it is a dull Tom Hanks performance never really delivering the laughs which he had shown capable of in the likes of "Splash". Jim Belushi does little better as his best friend with about one scene which manages to be funny and as already mentioned Carrie Fisher is pretty much memorable for the one scene where she is in animal print underwear. And it's the same with everyone else especially Lori Singer who just seems totally uncomfortable playing such a weak character.

What this all boils down to is that like some other movies which Tom Hanks made in the 80s "The Man with One Red Shoe" is quite forgettable. It's just all a bit too messy as if it's unsure of what it wants to be and so whilst there is some slapstick and some subtle comedy none of it really delivers the laughs intended.


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