Day of the Dolphin

Bomb Rating: 

This film turns into a sappy melodrama faster than you can say "Starkist".

Here's the plot: Dr. Jake Terrell (George C. Scott) has been doing some secret research and trained a dolphin to talk, but when Curtis Mahoney (Paul Sorvino) comes snooping around the facility, something is clearly amiss. Though Terrell and his wife Maggie (Trish Van Devere) have managed to keep the talking dolphin a secret from the outside world, Mahoney threatens to reveal the secret and turn their lab into a media circus. However, when Terrell's financiers learn of the special dolphin, they hatch a dastardly plot and it's up to Terrell (and his smart dolphin) to stop it.

Okay, that sounds like one of two things, an after-school special or a bad Disney movie. Believe it or not, it's neither. This thing was directed by Mike Nichols and written by Buck Henry, the same two guys responsible for "The Graduate." Talk about trying to end a contract.

The film comes with just about everything you'd guess: the dolphin voices sound ridiculous, the music is so sappy and sad that after the tenth consecutive sequence involving dolphin ingenuity and more anthropomorphism this side of the Country Bears, I wanted to drive down to my local aquarium and take target practice.

And what kind of a dolphin would listen to George C. Scott in the first place? This wasn't exactly a man who exuded any mystical Dr. Doolittle quality. The guy's voice and whole manner could frighten off badgers. He almost frightened me into shutting off my DVD player, yet the dolphins continued to hang around him. Not exactly believable.

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