Martin Brest has lapsed into Bressonian intervals between pictures—and creeping running time in the films themselves. Scent of a Woman, for instance, was 157 minutes long, which only drew attention to its many implausibilities. God knows how the project evolved out of the 1974 Italian film, with script by the admirable Bo Goldman. But the suggestion that any army on earth would ever have made Al Pacino a colonel still seems to me the greatest comic coup in the picture. Maybe that’s one reason why he won the Oscar.
The film is not without fun—and Brest can handle set pieces quite well, as witness the amiable Midnight Run (a mere 122 minutes). Of course, Beverly Hills Cop was his breakthrough, and the keystone of Brest’s taste for warped buddy pictures—a couple of guys who have to learn to get on. He’s certainly a Hollywood figure by now, and—in the present climate for length—he may be planning on three, or four, pictures. One harks back to the old-man panache of Going in Style (96 minutes) fondly, for in truth Brest makes modest entertainments that should stay modest. Meet Joe Black was 178 minutes.