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  Crystal Heart The Boy In The Bubble
Year: 1986
Director: Gil Bettman
Stars: Lee Curreri, Tawny Kitaen, Lloyd Bochner, May Heatherly, Simón Andreu, Marina Saura, LaGena Hart, Cal Gibson, Emiliano Redondo, Jack Taylor, Marcea D. Lane, Richard Blade, Gil Bettman
Genre: Romance, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Christopher Newley (Lee Curreri) has an unusual medical condition which has hampered his life ever since birth. He has no immune system, which means he has to exist in a specially controlled room, away from the world and looked after by his parents and his nurse who attend to his every need, but do not stave off his loneliness. To soothe those feelings of isolation, he likes to watch the music videos on television which he plays along with on his keyboards, and his favourite star is Alley Daniels (Tawny Kitaen), a pop singer well known for her fashionable look. What if they were to meet?

Ah, what indeed? Would this rich and successful celebrity be interested in an outsider such as Christopher and his self-penned songs? Well, the answer to that would probably be no, but this is the movies we are dealing with and their stock in trade is fantasy, so here the lad gets his wish and those requests for signed photos from his idol pay off when she goes to see him. This would appear to be a pop music variation on the infamous John Travolta TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, only here we had the actor best known as Bruno from Fame in the lead role, which might lead you to expect scenes of him accompanying Tawny on the piano.

You might expect that, and if they wanted to make this even more cheesy - it was already a ripe slice of Gorgonzola as it was - they should have had a number where Alley trills to Christopher through the glass of his room while he tickles the ivories (or the plastic keys at any rate) - perhaps she could do some of her Whitesnake video posing in the process - but that was yet another missed opportunity in the history of cinema as we know it. What does happen is that the plainly out of his league Alley falls for the enforced hermit, and goes against his parents' wishes by visiting him often, bringing a dog for him to see, or a group of photographers from the tabloids to highlight the oh-so-strange relationship they have sparked.

Actually, considering Curreri was renowned for his keyboard talents a sequence with him onstage in a bubble, maybe like a huge hamster ball, playing away while Tawny cavorted up front as the two lovers went on tour would have been the perfect happy ending, you would have thought. Alas, the filmmakers were tugging at the audience's heartstrings rather than trying to uplift them and you could see the sad finale heading in your direction from the second Christopher is shown in his sterile environment. Not that this prevents him from getting nookie, as in the film's most notorious part he and Alley have sex through the glass of the screen, or rather get naked and rub up against the panel.

Not something you imagine Mr Shorofsky ever having to contemplate, doubtless he would have frowned upon it, not to mention the mess it would make on the glass. This is swiftly followed by Alley suffering a nightmare where she smashes through the barrier and ends up sprawled, bloody and nude on the floor, though by this stage you've come to expect the out of the ordinary in this movie. Recognising that this union will never be until Christopher gets the hell out of there, he breaks free and runs from his mansion and his controlling parents, seen only by the nurse who whispers a good luck to him with tears in her eyes, and off he goes, only for a while it seems as if this no immunity premise was actually bullshit because he's absolutely fine, gets to meet up with Alley and get on with the canoodling. Naturally, it cannot last and if you can possibly treat this sincerely you might have a lump in your throat. Or maybe you'll be chortling in derision? Still there's always the regular pop videos to distract you - and Tawny's enormous hairdos. Music by Joel Goldsmith.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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