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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Retro Review: The Experts (1989)

The Experts
Cast: John Travolta, Arye Gross, Kelly Preston, Deborah Foreman, James Keach
Genre: Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $169,000

Plot: The KGB shanghais a hip New Yorker & his sidekick to teach square spies how to act like Americans

'I'm No Expert, But This Film Is An Extremely Dire Travolta Vehicle'

With a music score by Marvin Hamlisch, given the low opinions from other letterboxers on this film, I went into The Experts with optimism and that it would be fun, well corny fun but one that put a smile on my face and an entertaining comedy. 

I was wrong.

The Experts was apparently delayed for 6 years - or be it made in 1986 and was set to be released in 1987 & thus it got delayed for 3 years in that case, and when it did get released in 1989, it pretty much bombed and received poor reviews and derailed Travolta's career, up until 1994's Pulp Fiction resurrected it. 

John Travolta and Arye Gross of the '90s TV sitcom Ellen, which starred Ellen Degeneres are Travis and Wendell: two losers who are spotted and recruited by a KGB spy & he offers them a lot of money to go to Nebraska to open up a trendy nightclub. They are then drugged & later awakened, thinking they are in the midwest.

Ishtar may have an inflated reputation for being a horrendously bad comedy, but it had its charm in places and over time it has garnered a small following. In contrast, The Experts has a similar-ish plot to Ishtar and plays out in a similar fashion, but where the comparisons end is that it has '80s pop tunes in place of made up songs, little of the charm and appeal that made Ishtar a little cult niche favourite for some people. Additionally, the story was difficult to get into and I found the film to be not very appealing or engrossing, at all. The affinity between John Travolta and Arye Gross is mismatched as a pairing with Gross whose character is even more unmemorable, whilst the humour is bafflingly inept, dry and the jokes are flat as a pancake. Travolta is never able to drive The Experts forward as a film.

The only scenes I liked were Travolta's Travis & Kelly Preston dancing and of them bumping and grinding into each other, but the rest was practically terrible. 

The film's only interesting scene sees John Travolta and Kelly Preston dancing, & the pairing met on set and fell in love in real life and they later became a Hollywood coupling.

Final Verdict:

Even worse than Ishtar, and that film gets dumped on by so many people, I barely laughed or smiled whilst I sat through The Experts. The story is just boring to sit through and the film is equally insipid to watch and but the dance scene, there are no other standout moments. The script is more mundane and nothing about it was entertaining. 

Along with greats in Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Pulp Fiction, John Travolta has also churned out a few stinkers: this one being one of them, alongside the equally wretched Old Dogs of 2009. 

It wasn't funny enough and the film is weak, as a whole. 


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