a critiQal film review Kuffs (1992)

Plot: After slacker George Kuffs (Slater) watches his brother (Boxleitner) murdered in front of his eyes, George inherits his brother's Patrol Special - a kind of rent-a-cop security force that patrols a specific district of San Francisco. George needs to pull it together if he's going to track down the man who killed his brother...but he finds out he might be in for more than he bargained for, as even his employees don’t think he’s the right man for the job.

449 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 14s)
  • ...this cheeseball comedy rises above the norm thanks to Slater’s likable main character.

Ah, the Christian Slater glory days. Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, he seemed to be everywhere. He was a skateboarding wiz in Gleaming The Cube, he was a shock-jock radio personality in Pump Up the Volume (1990), he even teamed up with an all-star cast for such films as Mobsters, Young Guns II, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991). He even did a girl-friendly film (Untamed Heart). He seemed unstoppable.

In the midst of this heyday of his, he starred in a smaller movie, Kuffs, where he jumped into a comedic role with the same gusto he gave to every other film back then. Is Kuffs another highlight of his glory days, or a bad career move?

Christian Slater shows us again why he was so popular in the late ‘80’s-early ‘90’s. He takes his character, which isn’t quite what you’d call “deep”, and really turns him into a likeable guy. Milla Jovovitch, in her pre-The Fifth Element (1997) days, also shows up here and does a decent enough job as Kuffs’ girlfriend Mya. Bruce Boxleitner, who you ‘80’s fans may remember as Scarecrow in the TV series “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” (TV) also puts in an appearance as Kuffs’ older brother. The entire cast all turn in good performances and make the movie fun to watch.

The plot line is pretty simple – it’s just another play on the fish out of water theme, which has been done so many times. One 80’s movie style favorite shows up here as George spends a lot of the time talking to the audience a la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986).

The dialogue is definitely not what you would call Oscar® worthy, but the director adds an element of humor and the movie comes off pretty well anyway, thanks to it’s tongue-in-cheek play on cop films. This humor keeps the movie upbeat and decently enjoyable.

The DVD part of the film isn’t any great shakes. It’s typical of early releases on DVD, and skimps a lot on extras. Basically, all it’s got is a theatrical trailer. That’s it. It doesn’t even have animated menus for cripes’ sake! At least it’s got widescreen.

While it’s true Kuffs isn’t high on anybody’s list of best movies of all time, it does rise above the cookie cutter comedies that abound, thanks mainly to Slater’s likeable portrayal of the main character.

If you’ve never seen Kuffs, go ahead and rent it sometime. Rent it as part of a retro Christian Slater night or something. It’s worth the couple of bucks and you’ll enjoy the Beverly Hills Cop (1984) / Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) feel that this movie brings to the screen.

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