CANNES–Headed straight to the corner vidstore is “The Cover-Up,” a workaday action-crimer oiled along by John Saxon on auto pilot as a crooked S&L boss in smalltown California. Drugs subplot involving Margaux Hemingway leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
Pic is a followup to the Wings Hauser starrer “Frame-Up,” screened in the Cannes market two years ago. Current $ 2 million item by same teaming of producer-director Paul Leder and action merchant Promark (formerly Cobra) Entertainment stirs in some bigger names to generally dull effect.
Saxon starts off by getting rid of his accountant (Peter Kwong) after he discovers his boss’ loan scam. As the bodies start piling up–Saxon’s finance exec, Kwong’s grandmother, and a lesbian audit inspector (Randee Heller)–local cop Hauser finally moves into high gear, provoked by Saxon’s kidnapping of his wife (Frances Fisher) and 12-year-old daughter (Lauren Woodland).
Formula script moves along in TV style, with only Farmer emerging as anything more than cardboard.
Hemingway (prior to reverting to her true moniker, Margot) is wasted in an almost dialogueless role as Saxon’s coke-addict wife, and Patti D’Arbanville coasts as a secretary putting the squeeze on Saxon. Heller makes an all-too-brief impression as the gay S&L officer.
Tech credits are average, with a soundtrack that needs cleaning of occasional glitches.