Short Takes: Dec. 14, 1992

CINEMA

Eddie and The PAC Rats

EDDIE MURPHY IS AN UNLIKELY FRONT man for a bald satire of political action committees. But THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN has the star updating Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with heaps of '90s cynicism and '60s righteousness. Thomas Jefferson Johnson (Murphy) is no saintly Jefferson Smith from the Frank Capra classic; he is a shakedown artist improbably elected to Congress who is tempted, then troubled, by corrupting PACS and perks. A pity that director Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) lacks the daredevil touch for a blend of 60 Minutes and Saturday Night Live. Murphy still has...

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