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The Man with One Red Shoe

Remember when Tom Hanks used to star in slight comedies where he shined regardless of the film's actual quality? Remember when Dabney Coleman could receive second billing? For those with a nostalgia bug for mid-'80s comedies, the Hitchcock-riffing The Man with One Red Shoe (1985) is a perfectly acceptable entry in the "early Hanks comedy" canon. Hanks stars as concert violinist Richard Drew, who becomes the target of CIA agent Cooper (Coleman) because CIA head honcho Ross (Charles Durning) needs to keep Cooper distracted while he's being investigated for Cooper's misdeeds. Cooper's been dealing dirty for a while, but he's in line to take Ross's job, so Ross gets his underling Brown (Edward Hermann) to pick someone at random to look like a superspy, and that someone happens to be Drew, who Brown picks out for his odd sense in footwear. But Drew is a charming and likable guy who somehow manages to avoid the numerous traps Cooper sets for him (with the help of two guardian angel CIA agents), while Cooper's agent Maddy (Lori Singer) finds herself attracted to Richard. But not only does he have to contend with the CIA shenanigans, his best friend Morris (James Belushi) keeps playing practical jokes on him, while Morris' wife Paula (Carrie Fisher) is trying to have an affair with him. Based on the 1972 French film The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe and serviceably — but unimaginatively — directed by Stan Dragoti (Mr. Mom), One Red Shoe is a very middling film with little to recommend it other than Hanks' winning light-comic persona and some occasionally good gags from supporting players like Gerrit Graham and David L. Lander. North by Northwest it's not, but the picture earned plenty of cable television play during the '80s, and as such, it's a good spin for that sort of lazy Saturday afternoon viewing of lowered expectations. Though he went on to bigger and better things, there's something pleasant about this period of Tom Hanks' career compared to his post-Oscar successes — he's so effortlessly charming that it's hard not to like the movie in spite of itself (and that's no mean feat). Fox presents The Man with One Red Shoe in both anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and full-frame transfers, while audio comes in both 2.0 stereo and mono. Extras consists of the theatrical trailer and bonus Tom Hanks film trailers. Keep-case.

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