In a country where the media attribute supermodels only marginally less credibility than presidents or popes, a film cast almost entirely with catwalk habitues should come as no surprise. Still, the absence of acting skills in "Call Girl" is remarkable. This unintentionally funny, cliche-ridden thriller by money-spinning Italian team Carlo and Enrico Vanzina was shot in English but dubbed for national release. In any language, it has neither the T&A nor the tension to surface beyond the video bargain bins.

In a country where the media attribute supermodels only marginally less credibility than presidents or popes, a film cast almost entirely with catwalk habitues should come as no surprise. Still, the absence of acting skills in “Call Girl” is remarkable. This unintentionally funny, cliche-ridden thriller by money-spinning Italian team Carlo and Enrico Vanzina was shot in English but dubbed for national release. In any language, it has neither the T&A nor the tension to surface beyond the video bargain bins.

Opening reel is a howler. Tasty Polish dumpling Eva (Bianca Koedam) is introduced pulling a plow back home in peasant-girl garb and then weeping with her folks over TV news footage of the Berlin Wall coming down. Action then leaps ahead seven years to find her turning top-class tricks and shopping in the best boutiques of Milan, but remembering her roots when it comes time to tip Polish windshield cleaners.

Eva goes missing during a surprise visit from her gullible baby sis, Maria (Jennifer Driver), who believes she’s raking in the bucks as an interpreter. With little help from the cops, Maria sets out on Eva’s trail, eventually catching on to her true profession. She soon discovers that the best way to trace her is by assuming the missing call girl’s identity, teaming up with ultrasmooth cop Tony (Raz Degan) as she mingles with Eva’s sleazy johns.

The main local selling point hereis Israeli male model Degan, whose flowing mane and bedroom eyes have up to now been showcased in TV commercials for liquor and cologne. Fact that Tony has better hair movement and chest definition than any of the babes is just one of the pic’s amusing anomalies. Degan brings more of his own smug talkshow persona than anything in the way of characterization, while Driver has two expressions, but opts most of the time for the fretful, confused one.

Bereft of suspense and graced with every cartoonish thriller situation in the book, this is a very pedestrian effort, made even sillier by Pino Donaggio’s high-strung tunes, which seem like leftovers from his scores for Brian De Palma.

Call Girl

Production

A Medusa release (in Italy) of a CDI presentation of a Video 80/Clemi Cinematografica production. (International sales: Clemi, Rome.) Produced by Giovanni Di Clemente. Directed by Carlo Vanzina. Screenplay, Franco Ferrini, Enrico Vanzina, Carlo Vanzina.

Crew

Camera (Cinecitta color, widescreen), Luigi Kuveiller; editor, Sergio Montanari; music, Pino Donaggio; art direction, Tonino Zera; costume design, Nicoletta Ercole; sound (Dolby Digital), Domenico Pasquadibisceglie; assistant director, Ulla Kruse Bomser. Reviewed at Medusa screening room, Rome, Oct. 24, 1996. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Tony ...... Raz Degan Maria ...... Jennifer Driver Eva ...... Bianca Koedam Marco ...... Paul Freeman Fabio ...... Antonio Ballerio Sonia ...... Alessandra Chiti
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