Courtesy Photo
** stars 100 minutes | Rated: PG-13
Opened: Friday, April 23, 1999
Directed by Jeff Pollack

Starring David Spade, Sophie Marceau, Patrick Bruel, Artie Lange, Martin Sheen, Mitchell Whitfield, Estelle Harris, Rose Marie, Marla Gibbs, Carol Cook & Jon Lovitz


I can see this movie appealing to pasty, mousy guys who wish they could score with a fabulous French babe like Sophie Marceau, but for anyone else this movie is a big zero. Espeically women, who will wonder aloud what she sees in a geek like David Spade.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 10/5/99

David Spade:
"Black Sheep" (1996)

Sophie Marceau:
"Firelight" (1998)

'SNL' alum mixes charm, smarm but has zero credibility as romantic lead
By Rob Blackwelder

A little perspective before I dive into my review of "Lost and Found": You should know I had been dreading this movie for weeks. I fully expected I would have to restrain myself from walking out in the middle. I mean, David Spade, that grating, diminutive, sarcastic little ditch rat in dire need of a hair cut from "Saturday Night Live" in a romantic comedy? David Spade getting cozy with the lithe and lovely French actress Sophie Marceau? Oh, puh-leaze!

Having said that, there have been a lot of "SNL" alumni vehicles far worse than this one, which is often funny and occasionally borders on actual charm.

Giving hope to 98 lb. dorks everywhere, Spade essentially plays himself as a struggling restaurateur, who is so smitten with his supple new neighbor (Marceau) that he kidnaps her ever-errant pooch so he can play hero by helping her search for the missing mutt and score some face time with the girl.

A weak set-up to be sure, "Lost and Found" is constantly threatening to delve into complete idiocy. However the plot, such as it is, is buttressed by prefabricated but passable incidentals, like the fact that the dog swallows a diamond ring, forcing Spade to hide him until the jewelry is, um, returned.

Spade's biting sarcasm has always made him a great surgical strike supporting player (as on TV's "Just Shoot Me") but he flounders trying to carry this movie (which he co-wrote). He has zero credibility as a romantic lead, but he does manage a surprising amount of charm without sacrificing any of his smarm.

The films has a few, scarce moments of true hilarity, like when Spade gets wiped out at strip poker by a band of blue-haired biddies played by Estelle Harris, Rose Marie, Marla Gibbs and Carol Cook. But in between is an awful lot of hole-riddled, paint-by-numbers plotting (Marceau's arrogant French ex shows up as competition for Spade) and extreme over-acting (mainly from "MadTV's" Artie Lange as a restaurant employee who obsessively emulates our hero).

Directed by Jeff Pollack ("Booty Call"), much of "Lost and Found" feels hopelessly staged, as well. So focused is Pollack on setting up punch lines that Marceau hardly mentions her missing dog after the first reel until he's returned in the last forcing Spade to make a hollow, insincere apology.

Marceau, whose character is a very unconvincing cello player (a way of establishing how far out of Spade's league she is), brings slight personality to a role that is largely about looking pretty and wearing spaghetti strapped sun dresses. Capable of so much more (see "Firelight" or "Braveheart," in which she plays the queen), the only reason I can think of for her being here is to get noticed so she might be offered more work in Hollywood.

Spade's one-liners hit the mark 90 percent of the time, and the stolen puppy plot line somehow doesn't play nearly as idiotically as it sounds. But ultimately, I don't care how disarming he is, David Spade will forever be a "just friends" kinda guy. The practical upshot of which is that the "Lost and Found" is too silly to be believed and not enough fun to let that fact slide.


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