Tom Hanks Project – Film #4 – The Man With One Red Shoe Review

19 Nov


Despite a torrent* of very poor reviews and the fact that this is a movie wherein the title of the movie is spoken verbatim in the dialogue by a character, The Man With One Red Shoe was surprisingly pleasant. It’s not, like, our favorite film ever, or even a top 10 Hanks film contender (top 30**, maybe). But particularly after the shitstorm that was Bachelor Party, this one turned out to be quite enjoyable. I was beyond exhausted when we watched, and even nodded off a couple times, but it was surprisingly decent. Not our favorite by any means, but passable.

* I almost forgot this word meant anything other than “free illegal download.”

**Top 30 is fair, considering there are only 47. This was a little worse than average.


The set-up of this film is that there are two leading CIA guys — the actual head of the CIA, and one of his up-and-coming proteges. The protege, Cooper, is running an illegal coke ring* (and not the Cola kind I drank while we watched the movie). Not only is he running this illegally, but he tries to pin it all on the head guy, Ross, so that Ross will be fired and Cooper will be put in his place. His right-hand woman, Maddie, is also possibly his niece**? It’s hard to say. Regardless, she’s the spy with the heart of gold, and the obvious love interest of the story right away (she looks like a living Barbie doll).

*The opening scene had us scared for how awful this movie would be. Long story short, a large quantity of cocaine is released into the air and a group of foreigners excitedly snort it off a car, yelling “Co-Ka-Yeee-na! Co-Ka-Yeee-na! Co-Ka-Yeee-na!” It was troubling.

**She’s listed as his “femme fatale” on IMDB. He kept calling her “darling” and “honey” and the like, which was also troubling. 


Ross, however, figures out Cooper’s plot, and he needs to buy time. In the photo above, you see him showing Mr. Gilmore that his house has been bugged by Cooper. Ross is too smart for that nonsense, though, so he plays a pre-recorded tape* describing a painting while he takes HIS right-hand man outside into the sprinklers** where they can talk and form a plan. Ross tasks Mr. Gilmore with picking any random person in an airport as an “insider” who they’ll trick Cooper into thinking has the knowledge to send him to jail. This will send Cooper on a wild goose chase, buying Ross time to really figure out how to nail him. They head back inside to talk into the Cooper-planted bug, explaining the airport where they’ll pick up their “insider” and the time, and then Mr. Gilmore goes there with two of the most worthless possible CIA agents you could ever imagine (they’re there for show, and are put on “The Man with One Red Shoe”s trail to keep Cooper thinking that he’s important. I honestly was barely following this chicanery. I was just waiting for Hanks.

*Before playing the tape, he makes it pretty clear he knows he’s being bugged when he loudly says “BUGS are a real problem here. So many BUGS. I hate being…BUGGED.” (wink) Somehow the guys listening didn’t pick up on this.

**He wears a rain jacket and has an umbrella, but makes Gilmore Grandpa get soaked. Great planning.


There’s a whole series of calamities that nearly befall our man, Red Shoe (aka Richard Drew). He’s really just come back from a trip he took as a violinist, and percussionist John Belushi swapped his shoes. That’s the very simple explanation of that. Basically, Drew just keeps accidentally avoiding all of the traps Cooper keeps trying to set for him, making Cooper feel all the more that he’s a spy himself. Drew is just a violinist who, for no real reason, is “sex deprived” (ew. Don’t make Tom Hanks “sex deprives,” movies!! It’s weird.) I loved what an avid biker Hanks was, but yeah, I like my Hanks movies romantic, not sex-filled.

The man with one red shoe 9

Honestly, for me, the most horrifying side-plot of the whole film is that Drew is having an affair with Belushi’s wife, played by Carrie Fisher. Tom Hanks having an affair?!? We never see it take place* — all we ever see is Hanks turning Carrie Fisher down. Anyway, to sum up this whole mess nicely, Maddie (the femme fatale spy) falls in love with Drew while trying to out-spy him because he writes a piece of music for her, since he’s really just a violinist (and does, I might say, a decent job of fake-playing the violin. Kudos, Hanks.) Maddie kinda figures out he’s just a dopey musician, and then ultimately turns into the snitch herself as she is protecting him. Ross is not a great guy, though, so the movie also still kicks him out of his job and Mr. Gilmore takes over, since he actually had a heart in the film. If you followed any of that — nicely done! If not, this movie is worth one viewing, if only for the scene above where a dead guy “watched” Belushi** pee.

*We kind of do. We see him turn her down and then the next thing you know they’re getting dressed. They yadda yadda’d the sex. See below.

**I usually hate Belushi in anything that isn’t Mr. Destiny, but he was perfect for this part of the cuckold.


Laugh Out Loud: Zack: 25 Caitlin: 26 You’re never going to bust a gut laughing at this film. Most of our laughs were quiet chuckles or “heh heh heh”s, but we did have a few bursts here and there. I don’t want to say it’s more suspenseful than funny, because it’s not THAT suspenseful…but it is just more of an interesting film than a hilarious one. Yeah, only a couple big laughs, but some consistent chuckling. If you’re wondering why Carrie Fisher is wearing animal print undies, it’s worth noting that she has a thing for “playing Tarzan” during sex. She pulls this move with Hanks and Belushi, but only Belushi indulges in this with her in a tree. I’m not kidding.

Cry: Both: 0 Not sure what we would have cried at on this one, really. Maybe if someone we cared about was killed. Nowhere near tears.

Cover Eyes: Both: 0 The only truly gnarly part of the film is when some fake dentist rips ALL the teeth out of a CIA agent’s mouth, but we only see the aftermath. Caitlin was adorably concerned they might pull Hanks’ teeth.


Romantic Interest: Zack: 5 Caitlin: 6.5 It’s more “lust at first sight” than anything else, but by the end, you definitely root for Maddie and Rich to live AND love. They were mildly cute, but very little to go off here. I don’t see them dating much longer and I wouldn’t have cared at all if they didn’t make it until the end of the movie. I just wanted Hanks to live. I didn’t even remember her name was Maddie.

Hanks Performance: Zack: 6  Caitlin: 6.5 The violin playing, while still a bit stiff, involved vibrato on the fingerboard, which was impressive. The bike stunts were cool. The Hanks-isms as Rich passes out from tranquilizers to the bum were recognizable from future physical comedy moves. You can feel that we’re on the verge, here. Just an OK performance. Not particularly funny, but played off everyone from Fisher to Belushi to Femme Fatale well. 

Movie: Zack: 6 Caitlin: 5.5 It’s better than Bachelor Party. It’s better than He Knows You’re Alone. I suspect (/am afraid) it will be better than Volunteers. So it’s got that going for it. Seriously, though, it’s a mildly engaging spy-slash-comedy-slash-romantic film that’s enjoyable enough. Not a repeat viewing kind of film, but not a “why are we doing this again?” atrocity, either. I liked this one the more I thought about it. It isn’t the best comedy or the best spy film or romance, but it all came together for something pretty watchable. We’ve seen worse. I’d watch it again. 

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One Response to “Tom Hanks Project – Film #4 – The Man With One Red Shoe Review”


  1. Introduction to The Tom Hanks Project | rockloveaustin - November 20, 2013

    […] The Man With One Red Shoe – 1985 Preview | Review […]

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