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Rating 3

Lost and Found

April 30, 1999
by Dan Lybarger
Originally appeared in Pitch Weekly. ........................................................................................................

Cast sarcastic comic David Spade in a supporting role (like his hilarious cameo in Paul Schrader's Light Sleeper), and he'll steal the show. Make him a leading man and the results aren't as impressive. In Lost and Found, Spade tries to show off his softer, more romantic side. Unfortunately, Spade is a lot funnier when he's rude.

To be fair, Spade does meet his quota of caustic one-liners as Dylan Ramsey, a restaurateur with a fine menu. Sadly, his bankbook isn't as rich as his cuisine. Dylan's love life is bankrupt as well. His stripper girlfriend has given him the boot, and his abrasive manner doesn't endear him to potential sweethearts. His chances for romantic fulfillment improve when Lila (Sophie Marceau from Braveheart), a pretty French cellist, moves in next door. Lila's personality is as sunny as her playing, but Dylan has difficulty getting her attention.

David Spade and Sophie Marceau in Lost and Found

David Spade and Sophie Marceau in Lost and Found.
1999 Warner Bros., used by permission.

To win her favor, Dylan kidnaps her beloved dog Jack. He hopes that "finding" the pooch will warm its master's heart. However, Jack winds up demolishing Dylan's apartment, hiding a friend's valuable ring and complicating his already tense life.

It is forgivable if a movie such as Lost and Found is predictable. People attend a movie like this one to see the couple on the movie poster united. Still, the pair in question must be believable and appealing. It's simply not much fun to discover Spade's sensitivity. He's a competent actor, but he's boring when he's not making wisecracks. Marceau is likeable, but she and Spade have no chemistry.

There really isn't much to Lost and Found other than a chance to hear Spade's retorts. At 110 minutes, it feels padded. The filmmakers struggle to fill the time, and many of the jokes don't work. There's an irritating subplot involving an obsequious employee (Artie Lange) who idolizes Dylan. It's ludicrous (what is there to idolize about Dylan?) and extraneous. Even the sequences that work are undermined by director Jeff Pollack's (Booty Call) inability to move on once a gag ceases to be funny.

Pollack and his cohorts obviously had modest ambitions in making this routine effort. Thanks to an underwhelming star, even these aspirations are not met. (PG-13)

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