TUCKER, THE MAN AND HIS DREAM. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola; written by Arnold Schulman and David Seidler, produced by Fred Roos and Fred Fuchs for Paramount. Starring Jeff Bridges, Martin Landau and Joan Allen. Rated PG.
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He was Starman, now he's "Carman."
Whatever part he plays, Jeff Bridges always does a good job and is fun to watch—even when he's a bad guy, like in Jagged Edge.
In Tucker he gets to be not just a good guy, but darned near a mythological hero—and he's as good as ever.
Not that Bridges is the only good thing about Tucker. It's a finely detailed and artistically rendered glimpse at late 1940's American society. It's an exhilarating story of a little guy with a good idea going against the grain of established practice. All in all, considerably above average movie entertainment.
Some moviegoers might remember what the Tucker Torpedo was, but most will need a little history lesson.
In those days most cars didn't have seat belts, shatterproof glass, padded dashboards and the like. The Tucker Torpedo did. It also had a rear engine, fuel injection and some other refinements that made it much more efficient than the average 1948 model.
All this did't sound too good to Detroit, where the major automakers would have a lot of expensive retooling to do if Tucker's ideas were to catch on. The classic conflict of innovation versus entrenched interest is played through beautifully in Tucker.
Bridges is a perfect choice to play the energetic, earnest and charming Tucker. The supporting cast is good as well. Landau is terrific as Tucker's partner Karatz. And Lloyd Bridges is all oily nastiness as a Senator out to get the inventor.
Tucker is educational, artistic and fun—and there aren't too many movies you can describe that way.
August 24, 1988