"When you were a baby, I once dropped you on
your head," confesses Maximilian Schell to his daughter, Tea Leoni. Obviously this
accounts for much of the decrepit drivel in DEEP IMPACT, a sci fi extravaganza that feels
like Mimi Leder directed it from outer space.
Starting with a teen astronomy student (Elijah Wood) discovering a comet on a collision
course with earth, to the "comet-tose" TV reporter (Tea Leoni) broadcasting all
the details, the film's real "deep impact" is its Crash! Boom! Bam! of
somnambulant writing by Michael Tolkin and Bruce Joel Rubin. Put it another way: Never
before has your Showbizmaven longed for the final scene depicting the end of the world.
Tea Leoni portrays an eager journalist looking for a career break instead of an acting
class. Lending new meaning to the word wooden, Leoni talks as though she has experimented
(and failed) with mind altering drugs. And how she dresses! With a string of pearls yet!
Maybe that's why she has no love life. But then why quibble when the planet is threatened
by a comet the size of New York City weighing in at 500 billion tons. Another bummer:
Total annihilation could lead to the Showbizmaven's favorite hotel, The Waldorf-Astoria,
being ruined (and after all those lovely renovations), along with the loss of all the
shows on Broadway, many of them Tony winners.
But the Showbizmaven digresses. The film has a weary looking Morgan Freeman as President
of the United States, but somehow his presence detracts from that "other" story
- namely Leoni's relationship with her estranged father who married a woman a minute older
than his daughter. Maximilian Schell, with his still handsome looks and confident demeanor
is a throwaway here, along with Vanessa Redgrave as Leoni's heartbroken mother. While
fretting about whether the world will end, we now have to worry about whether Schell will
ditch his wife and run back to Redgrave. Why not just call Dr. Laura?
Phoning Executive Producers Steven Spielberg, Joan Bradshaw and Walter Parkes will only
bring more scenarios:
If Schell crawls back to Redgrave, will he drop his German accent?
Will Leoni take over Larry King's show?
Will disaster ever arrive? (Asked primarily by the Showbizmaven who
was keeping herself up by playing Country and Western's "Are There Any Truck Stops In
A slight glimmer of hope appears with the wonderfully gifted Robert
Duvall as an astronaut in charge of the spaceship Messiah. (No comment) It is up to Duvall
and his team to destroy the enemy. Do they succeed? Sorry, you'll have to take No Doz to
get through the answer.
With such cataclysmic events circling the planet, there's even more bad news:
Everyone is stocking up on caseloads of Ensure.
One million people will be chosen for survival by lottery, with
lucky winners getting to live in a cave in Missouri!
Only those under 50 can qualify which means no Mick Jagger and no
As the planet teeters towards its inevitable end, somewhere the
writers throw in this tidbit: "Frank Gifford was a great football player in his time.
If he played now, he'd get his a-busted." Now there's a thought.
With love & knishes from your Show Biz Maven.
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