Arnold Schwarzenegger’s back – in yet another extremely silly, extremely enjoyable comedy-actioner, TRUE LIES, as superspy Harry Tasker, who leads the double life of a Bond-ish field agent and a suburban family man, his wife, Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis), and daughter (Eliza Dushku) oblivious to his “real” job, thinking he is a boring computer consultant.
James Cameron writes and directs (remaking the 1991 Claude Ziti French movie, LA TOTALE!), so it’s going to be bombastic, larger-than-life and speak in a funny accent.
Funniest thing about TRUE LIES is – Tom Arnold. And we’re not laughing AT him this time – we’re actually digging his head-on, dead-on comedic delivery, as Arnold’s superspy wingman, Gibson.
Tia Carrera sloppily fills the femme fatale role as a glamorous front for Arab terrorists (hey! They’re Arabs – they MUST be terrorists!), led by the robust Arab stylings of Art Malik (who is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and attended school in London, yet is forever typecast in Third World roles for his Pakistani birth roots.) And big manly Charlton Heston as the agency boss.
Bill Paxton may be trying to outdo his Hudson pussy from ALIENS in a creamily sleazy comedic turn that almost outshines Tom Arnold’s, as Simon the car salesman who pretends to be a spy to get women, with the best delivery of the word “DICKLESS!” ever committed to film. Happenstance leads him to Harry’s wife as a panty prospect for Simon. (The last time Paxton and Schwarzenegger were onscreen together was in THE TERMINATOR 1984, with a naked Arnold beating up a punked Paxton for his clothes.)
Harry’s wife discovers his spy life in the most inauspicious manner: bored with her home life, she gravitates to Simon, who claims to be an action man spy. When real spies Harry and Gibson find out, she is mock-kidnapped by them in disguise and sent on a fake spy job to scare her out of her action jones. On this job – where she performs a sensual striptease for her own husband, without realizing it is him – both she and Harry are captured by real terrorists. Let the Bond-ing begin…
Lots of big orange explosions later, after some spectacular stunts (a motorbike leaping across skyscrapers, Jamie Lee Curtis hanging from a helicopter, Schwarzenegger in a Harrier jet) and absolutely ridiculous sequences (Schwarzenegger bodysliding downhill on snow, shooting jet-skiers behind him, a horse chasing a motorbike through a hotel, the terrorist clinging to the tail of the Harrier, Schwarzenegger doing the tango!), we leave this movie thankful it has stopped bombarding our Blockbuster Nerve.
And go back to our double lives of lying to our spouses.