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Blu-ray Review: VIBES

Underrated ’80s comedy/fantasy is a wild, colorful ride

Budget home media imprint Mill Creek Entertainment has been knocking it out of the park for some time, licensing rare and obscure genre films and giving them crisp HD Blu-ray presentations with attractive packaging and making them available for next to nothing. Rarely – if ever – do they bother with following the lead of boutique labels like Arrow or Severin by padding out their releases with special features of any kind. And that’s often okay. Because at the end of the day, it’s the movie that matters and any further knowledge the viewer needs is mostly available on ye olde internet.

But sometimes the company lets loose a title that DEMANDS a more comprehensive revisit and dissection. One such picture is VIBES, a 1988 comedy/fantasy/adventure that came and went quickly, the victim of audience indifference and scathing critical response. If ever there was a picture that demanded a fevered cult following, it’s VIBES, a cheerfully bizarre, bouncy and beautiful-to-look-at romp with a pack of wonderful performances and endless weirdness. Why it was so hated upon opening is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it’s because this sort of post-GHOSTBUSTERS FX-draped action ‘n’ laffs programmer was starting to become old hat by the decade’s end. Maybe its because people were cynical about female pop stars fronting a studio feature after the failure of Madonna’s WHO’S THAT GIRL? (also kind of undervalued).  Who knows. But it’s a movie that needs MUCH more respect. Why? Maybe it’s just that VIBES feels so out of step with everything that is cynical, scatological and un-cinematic in contemporary comedy that you just want to hold it and keep it safe. Or maybe it’s simply because this is Cyndi Lauper’s one-and-only above-the-credits starring role and she’s really, REALLY good and her unlikely romantic lead is a post-THE FLY Jeff Goldblum and HE’S really good too and their energies are gelled together by the presence of COLOMBO himself, Peter Falk.

Whatever the voodoo, VIBES is a rather brilliant little picture and it’s great to have it back.

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