Though its ostensible setting is Key West, the new Goldie Hawn film "Crisscross" really takes place on the isle of moral torpor, in the entropy straits, halfway between being and nothingness, near the tropic of lassitude. This is Joan Didion territory, it's Robert Stone territory -- but it sure isn't Goldie Hawn territory.
Hawn plays the stressed-out divorcee of a naval aviator and Skyhawk jock who accidentally planted a 500-pounder in a children's hospital over in 'Nam. Like a plague spreading through the air, the miasma of this original sin infects all who come in touch, particularly the beaten-down Hawn and her somewhat drab son, Chris (David Arnott).
The year is 1969, when the dispirit of a Vietnam war winding ever tragically onward served as counterpoint to a technofestival of Yankee ingenuity known as the moonwalk; indeed, director Chris Menges uses the moonwalk as background for the dolorous gropings of these sad sacks.
Mama Goldie, waitressing to keep the two of them afloat, is soon stripping in a sleazy bar for a few extra bucks. When he spies this, son Chris freaks and begins a downward spiral that culminates in his decision to start pushing drugs (it's early in the cocaine craze). Bad career move: Mama's new boyfriend is an undercover narc.
The materials are fairly melodramatic, so the movie should be peppy. But it's slower than conch chowder in January. Arnott isn't a particularly expressive young actor but, worse, the movie appoints him point-of-view character and narrator, and his insights aren't especially interesting. Finally, no other character in the movie is fully realized; everybody walks around in one dimension -- it's like a shooting range full of silhouette targets.
Starring Goldie Hawn and David Arnott.
Directed by Chris Menges.
Released by MGM.