Mr. Goldsman, a first-time director though a veteran screenwriter, has been done in by the source material. Either he climbed aboard a horse that was too much for him, or the universe gave him a bum steer.
Everything that was modest, soundly grounded and therefore horrifying about the 1971 rodentarama that starred Bruce Davison is now insistent, Grand-Guignol-intense and therefore shrug-offable when it isn't downright awful.
The best thing about a movie as silly as this is that it makes such modest demands on your attention. As the story unfolded with all the energy of California in a Stage 3 alert, I staved off brain death by trying to imagine an alternate version.
I wish I'd brought a pair of peas to the screening. Then I could have taken in the glorious scenery without the dumb dialogue, which is delivered in a jangle of accents that makes a mockery of ethnicity.
This ripoff, directed by Jerry Zucker, has a few funny moments, but it's a sad sad sad sad example of what Hollywood is currently serving up -- and what audiences are swallowing -- as summer entertainment.