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GOTCHA! (director: Jeff Kanew; screenwriters: Paul G. Hensler/Dan Gordon; cinematographer: King Baggot; editor: Michael A. Stevenson; music: Bill Conti/Randy Newman; cast: Anthony Edwards (Jonathan), Linda Fiorentino (Sasha), Nick Corri (Manolo), Alex Rocco (Al), Marla Adams (Maria), Klaus Loewitsch (Vlad), Irene Olga López (Rosario); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Paul G. Hensler; Universal; 1985)
“Uninspired sophomoric spy caper.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Jeff Kanew directs an uninspired sophomoric spy caper, played mostly for laughs (but manages to get only a few, at most). The film is framed around a popular campus game at UCLA in which students prowl the campus with paint-spewing pellet guns in order to shoot the other players and yell Gotcha! The game opens and closes the film. Innocent, goofy and nerdy veterinary student Jonathan Moore (Anthony Edwards) proves to be good at the paintball game but lousy at getting dates and merely passable as a student, as we watch him move about the campus attending classes and intently playing the game. Later Jonathan convinces his affluent sitcom-like suburban parents to let him take a summer vacation in Europe with his Hispanic friend Manolo (Nick Corri). In Paris the 18-year-old is picked up by the 24-year-old Czech born Sasha (Linda Fiorentino), who busts his cherry and gets him to leave his friend to go to Berlin with her. The unsuspecting youngster is used to smuggle out a roll of film from East Germany, as she’s being followed by a Russian agent named Vlad and couldn’t carry out her CIA assignment without his help. After a series of misadventures, Jonathan returns alone to the ‘good ole’ USA with the film. But the cat-and-mouse game with the spies is not over and Jonathan has to use his game skills from Gotcha to survive those coming after the valuable film. The lesson learned is to loosen up because life is a game.

Writers Paul G. Hensler and Dan Gordon never make the adventure story believable or interesting. It can be cited as a good example of a disposable film.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”