Writer-director Michael Crichton has used interesting material, public manipulation by computer-generated TV commercials, to create Looker, a silly and unconvincing contempo sci-fi thriller.
Albert Finney, sporting a neutral American accent, heads the cast as Dr Larry Roberts, a leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon being set up as the fall guy in a string of murders of beautiful models who happen to be his patients. Bypassing the police detective (Dorian Harewood) on the case, Roberts teams with model Cindy (Susan Dey) to track down the real killers, with Cindy infiltrating a suspicious research institute run by Jennifer Long (Leigh Taylor-Young) as part of the conglomerate Reston Industries headed by John Reston (James Coburn).
Long has been developing the perfect TV commercials, using plastic surgery-augmented beautiful women as models and expanding into computer-generated simulation techniques. Reston has used these experiments to go beyond subliminal advertising to create hypnotic messages that can sell products or even political candidates.
With numerous lapses in credibility, Crichton falls back upon motifs better used in his Westworld picture: computer simulations (for robots), TV blurb soundstages (for film backlots) and assorted fancy chases.