Howard the Duck | Chicago Reader

Howard the Duck

Rated PG 111 minutes 1986

The duck doesn't fly, but did anyone ever really think it would? Evidently not executive producer George Lucas, who farmed out this project to directing nonentity Willard Huyck (Best Defense), giving him little more to work with than the basic duck-amuck-in-Cleveland premise and the irrational, undying affection of Marvel Comics readers. Huyck, who coauthored the screenplay with producer and longtime screenwriting companion Gloria Katz, plainly doesn't know what to do with our hero once he gets him to earth, surrounding him with standard-issue car chases and smashups, laboratory explosions, and prosthetic monstrosities. Huyck's direction is resolutely uninvolved—every shot of every arrhythmically paced scene cries out for instant anonymity—and only Jeffrey Jones's sardonic scenery chewing as an archetypally deranged scientist keeps things marginally watchable. Lea Thompson is completely out of her element as Howard's sexpot girlfriend (though graduated, thankfully, from the treacly virginality of SpaceCamp), and as for the guy(s) in the duck suit . . . well, he/they deserve our condolences and prayers.

Film Credits

Director: Willard Huyck

Producer: Gloria Katz, Robert Brown and George Lucas

Cast: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins, Paul Guilfoyle, Liz Sagal, Dominique Davalos, Holly Robinson Peete, Tommy Swerdlow, Richard Edson, Miles Chapin, Richard McGonagle, Virginia Capers, Debbie Lee Carrington, David Paymer and Thomas Dolby

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