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In the last chapter of Fascination, a couple of characters throw around the term “crazy idea” to describe the thriller’s whodunit scenario. Here’s a crazy idea, perfect for the studio not-so-fittingly named Quality Films: Don’t release a movie co-written by the scripter of Emmanuelle, Queen of the Galaxy and starring Jacqueline Bisset and, God help us, the dude who voiced Kangaroo Jack. German TV director Klaus Menzel’s Fascination is Showgirls-terrible, from the first frames, which establish the drowning of a “champion swimmer,” to its endless, mostly clothed sex scenes to its unintentionally hilarious dialogue, courtesy of Menzel, Emmanuelle’s Daryl Haney, and newcomer John Jacobs. The plot involves a fabulous widow (Bisset); her angry composer son, Scott (Jack’s Adam Garcia); and Oliver and Kelly (Stuart Wilson and Alice Evans), the suspicious father and daughter who romance the pair after they bury poor drowned Dad. But it’s a lot more fun to trace the story by connecting the ridiculous things that come out of these characters’ mouths than by actually keeping track of the increasingly ridiculous action. Here, for example, is Mom’s defense of her sudden decision to remarry: “If we put it off, and he goes back to London…Things happen sometimes!” And her subsequent fight with Scott: “For someone so young and as artistically inclined as you, you’ve gotten extremely judgmental!” For pure entertainment value, however, you can’t beat the relationship between Garcia’s alternately wooden, goofy, and hysterical Scott and Evans’ overly enunciating Kelly, which is developed—how else?—through a series of howlers. There’s Scott’s sob-story wooing (“When I was young, I had this severe bout with scoliosis”), Kelly’s first move (“Let me kiss you through the pain”), and, of course, the bad yet appropriate poetry that results (“I love you so much, it’s beyond sense or reason!”). Throughout, it’s clear that the scripters couldn’t make up their minds whether Scott is the naive kid who stares open-mouthed at his mother making out with a new guy or the sophisticated adult who thinks to dig up his father’s body for a toxicology report. They also neglected to notice such plot whoopsies as a secret that’s supposed to be revealed toward film’s end but is pretty much spelled out at the beginning. At least they got one thing right: When Kelly tries to convince Scott not to judge unexpected developments, she suggests, “It’s like me and you! We’re like an accident!”

—Tricia Olszewski