`A Smile Like Yours' Doesn't Prompt A Lot Of Laughs

Movie review X "A Smile Like Yours," with Greg Kinnear, Lauren Holly. Directed by Keith Samples, from a script by Samples and Kevin Meyer. Alderwood, Auburn Cinema 17, Everett Mall 4-10, Factoria, Gateway, Issaquah 9, Meridian 16, Oak Tree, Redmond Town Center, Renton Village. 90 minutes. "R" - Restricted because of sexual emphasis.

This may not be the worst romantic comedy of the year, but surely it's the flattest. The thing has no energy. It just lies there, waiting to be kicked.

But what else can you do to a movie that identifies its stars in the opening credits by male and female symbols - just to make sure the audience knows which is which? And what else can you do with a script that creates endlessly unfunny scenes around Chinese-laundry accents, anal examinations, hoary Seattle-rain jokes and women executives who have male-sounding names?

Greg Kinnear and Lauren Holly try to smile their way through the kamikaze roles of Danny and Jennifer, a workaholic couple whose marriage is threatened by the fact that they want a baby and his sperm is inadequate.

This poses a serious threat to his masculinity ("I'm extremely potent," he insists) and eventually he's lured to the Northwest by a seductive architect (Jill Hennessy) who insists that only his construction company can fix the many elevators in her Seattle building. Christopher McDonald turns up briefly as another executive whose chief plot function is to make Danny jealous, and Joan Cusack is wasted as Jennifer's pal and co-worker.

Shirley MacLaine appears late and uncredited, apparently as a favor to executive producer Robert Harling, who directed her last year in "The Evening Star," one of the biggest bow-wows of her career. A scene in which she eats bananas and trades double-entendres with Danny qualifies as a new career low.

"A Smile Like Yours" was directed and co-written by Keith Samples, the founder and CEO of Rysher Entertainment, a fading company with a disastrous track record. Apparently while he was acting as executive producer on "The Evening Star" and "Three Wishes," he really wanted to direct.

Unfortunately, he can't. The evidence is everywhere: a karaoke-humiliation scene that pales next to the one in "My Best Friend's Wedding"; a sequence in which an "I Love Lucy" episode lends Danny and Jennifer marital advice; and the running gags about Danny's "lazy swimmers" and the Nurse Ratched type who torments him. Samples systematically takes each comic opportunity and drains the laughs out of it.