The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Saturday, August 20, 1994              TAG: 9408190101
                                             LENGTH: Medium:   53 lines


EVERYTHING IS over the top in ``Kika'' - that is, when the performers wear tops.

From Spain's bad boy, Pedro Almodovar, comes another sex farce with occasionally hilarious one-liners and an apparent all-out effort to be tasteless. There is no one in the film industry, on either side of the Atlantic, who has quite the nerve of Almodovar when it comes to spoofing sex. His ``Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!'' and ``Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown'' were both local hits.

``Kika'' is not as good for several reasons. For one, Almodovar tries to get too serious. To the usual absurdities of sexual pursuit, he has added a spoof of violence and, specifically, the way television covers violence. He has even added a lengthy comedic scene about rape.

Is it offensive?

Well, why should he change now? Almodovar specializes in offending. He revels in his notoriety as well as in his mischief.

Peter Coyote plays an American writer who lives to get involved with varied women with overdeveloped mammary glands.

His son, Ramon, has a mother complex. In an early scene, Mama commits suicide. Moments later, on screen, Ramon is supposedly dead but is revived when Kika, a ditsy hairdresser-makeup artist, prepares him for the funeral.

Scarface, the television hostess of a show called ``Today's Worst,'' hovers about everything and everybody, dressed in a suit in which her hat is a camera and lights are spread throughout her body.

To attempt to explain the plot is pointless. ``Kika'' is mainly one-liners played in the broadest manner - complete with the usual bright colors (oranges, reds, and yellows) that make up any Almodovar interior.

The excesses of ``Kika'' provide its humor. When you overstate things to this point of absurd exaggeration, it eventually becomes impossible to take it seriously. Almodovar is in danger of becoming repetitive, but because no one else will even try his campy degree of excess, he's still unique. He's an acquired taste, however. Don't go to see this film unless you have a broad, very broad, mind. MEMO: MOVIE REVIEW


Cast: Veronique Forque, Peter Coyote, Victoria Abril

Director, writer: Pedro Almodovar

MPAA rating: NC-17 (nudity, language)

Mal's rating: two stars

Locations: Naro Expanded Cinema in Norfolk by CNB