[box cover]

I.Q.

When was the last time you heard Albert Einstein say "wahoo"? If you can't remember, then it's high time you watched I.Q. (1994), a charming — if slightly over-stylized — romantic comedy about learning to think with your heart instead of your head. The late, great Walter Matthau plays the fuzzy-haired scientist, who joyfully seizes on the challenge of getting his brilliant-but-loopy niece, Catherine (Meg Ryan), to fall in love with amateur astronomer/grease monkey Ed (Tim Robbins). Ably assisting Einstein in his efforts are three of his fellow great thinkers: Kurt Gödel (Lou Jacobi), Boris Podolsky (Gene Saks), and Nathan Liebknecht (Joseph Maher). Together, the quartet of meddlesome old men make the most adorable cinematic matchmakers this side of the rather similar geriatric foursome featured in Bonnie Hunt's Return to Me; the lengths they go to help Ed win Catherine's heart — by way of her brain — provide some of the movie's funniest scenes. In fact, it's their idea to cast Ed as a physicist savant who just happened to stumble across a workable model for cold fusion while he was pounding away on an engine one day. One thing leads to another, and soon Ed is at the center of a media circus with no idea how to tell Catherine the truth. But his AARP-ready posse is always willing to lend a helping hand (or cane), especially when it comes to derailing Catherine's stuffy British fiancé, James (Stephen Fry). Fry, like Tony Shalhoub and Frank Whaley as Ed's garage buddies, offers a strong-but-subtle supporting performance with exactly the right mix of pompousness and nerdiness: He's a guy we feel sorry for, but we definitely don't want him to get the girl. Ryan and Robbins, meanwhile, are both appealing in their roles. Ryan occasionally overdoes Catherine's quirks, and her peroxide blonde pixie cut doesn't exactly scream "Eisenhower era," but she's still the Meg Ryan we know and love. It's Matthau, though, who steals the show; his Einstein is simultaneously cuddly and brilliant — he never falls into the too-easy realm of caricature, instead grounding his character with a warm heart and a sly sense of humor. When he says "wahoo," you believe that Albert Einstein was the kind of man who actually would say "wahoo" (at least, while soaring down a country road on the back of a motorcycle). Paramount's I.Q. DVD offers a decent range of audio choices — there's a strong Dolby Digital 5.1 track, as well as Dolby 2.0 Surround and French stereo, as well as English subtitles — and a crisp, clean widescreen anamorphic transfer (2.35:1), but no extras. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



Back to Quick Reviews Index: [A-F] [G-L] [M-R] [S-Z]

Back to Main Page