A teenage girl is delivering papers, being followed inconspicuously by a 20 year old land yacht the size of a sea yacht. Jessica (Joanna Kerns) and the geezer across the street pick up their well-targeted soon-to-be obsolete dead-tree papers.
Shorty thereafter, the girl’s bike is found wrecked with black and white and red all over. Formerly married detectives Beth Jordan and Greg Coming are on the case, keenly observing, “It doesn’t look like this was done by a friend.” Greg further miraculously deduces with Holmesian implausibility that the girl was taken to the river.
He turns out to be correct as her body is quickly found. Immediately after Beth says they need twice as many men to cover the area, Greg finds the girl 10 feet from him. The coroner determines that she has been stabbed, strangled and raped. Also probably not the work of a friend.
For the 3rd time, we cut to Jessica and her co-worker husband Dan at the office, but so little happens that it is hardly worth noting. After starting a new company 5 years ago, they finally take a vacation. Just before leaving, they get the news that their newspaper girl has been murdered in their neighborhood, so at least they won’t have to cancel delivery. Now if someone could just knock off the postman. Bye, bon voyage!
After some fly-fishing (sadly not a metaphor), Dan is cooking their catch over a fire when we get the TV-movie version of a seduction — Jessica’s silhouette stripping in a suspiciously back-lit tent, wrapping herself in a towel and inviting Dan in — he and dinner are both f***ed.
When they return home, they think Jessica’s sister left the door unlocked. But Carol did lock the door — someone broke in through a very insecure window and creepily laid out a lot of Jessica’s clothes and rifled through her drawers; and her drawers. Gallantly, the next night Dan goes away on a business trip.
Jessica hears a door open and assumes Dan is home early. But it turns out to be the guy who likes newspaper girls, who has broken through that same window a 2nd time. He also seems to like older women as he pulls a knife on Jessica. She manages to get away, but only as far as the front lawn, screaming for help. The geezer across the street, thinking some kids might be on his lawn, comes out and scares the assailant off — but not before he inflicts some damage.
Her husband graciously comes home early. When the doctor suggests a rape test be done, her husband, of course, knowing better than his wife or the doctor, says it won’t be necessary. She says it is probably a good idea. Dan turns into a real distant, unsupportive asshole after his wife has been raped, but he does at least spring for an expensive home security system. So she’s safe now.
The day after telling the police how to do their job, Dan goes in to work. As Dan pulls away from the curb of their house — not apartment, condo, duplex or high-rise, but their single unit house — the rapist’s enormous 20 year old behemoth of a car is highlariously revealed to be have been parked inches behind him. This would be like Dennis Weaver not noticing there was a truck behind him in Duel.
Within minutes the alarm goes off and it is revealed that the naughty boy has for the 3rd time come through that same damn window that might as well say Rapists Entrance. Here’s a security tip — lock that f***ing window! It is never broken. It always seems to have been neatly lifted out of the frame.
I understand Jessica’s theory that the rapist must kill her because she has seen his face, but why does he choose a neighborhood cookout for his next attempt. I guess he was peeking through the fence and saw he go into her house, so naturally he came in through that same damn window for a 4th time, without having to so much as scratch it.
He gets away that time, and soon the detective is staking out their house. While Jessica and Dan have made up and are cuddling upstairs, the detective must decide where to position himself.
Hmmmm, use your detective training, apply that Holmesian steel-trap of a mind, think like a rapist. Maybe . . . the attic, the basement? No — wait for him in the kitchen — that’s the ticket!
Yeah, no reason to worry about that same goddamn unsecure window — that he indeed slips in for the fifth time! He uses that window like Hogan’s Heroes used their tunnel.
Finally (hooray for the 2nd amendment) the guns come out, but it is really a deus ex machina, or serendipitous ending — choose your fancy word. But it is allegedly based on a true story, so who knows. But for the love of god, can we at least lock that window?
Joanna Kerns is perfectly fine as Jessica and actually gets better as the movie progresses, but her husband is a complete stiff. True, he plays an unsympathetic character in the last half of the movie, but I had an immediate dislike, or worse — indifference — to him from the first frame.
Dan Luria comes off very natural as the detective. Christina Cox as his partner was very captivating in her 1980’s suits (despite it being 1996).
I wish Joanna Kerns had done a worse job so I could rate this No One Could Direct Her.
She, Dan Luria and Christina Cox make it watchable, but just barely. And definitely not recommendable.
- I wasn’t overly impressed with the performances, but I must say Joanna Kerns’ portrayal of being knocked conscious seemed about as realistic as I can imagine. Bravo on that scene — it might initially come off as slightly hammy, but it really seemed true and effective to me.
- Christina Cox was kind of a young Hillary Swank, but then in 1996, she was a young Christina Cox. But I did love those suits — kudos to the costumers. A phrase I’m not sure I’ve ever used.