Review: Vibes (1988)
Before Mill Creek Entertainment announced 1988's Vibes as part of their latest wave of retro VHS-style slipcover Blu-rays, I hadn't even heard of the movie, at least not that I can remember. Yet, something about it immediately ignited my interest. In part, it was the cast: Jeff Goldblum, Cyndi Lauper, and Lieutenant Columbo himself, Peter Falk. Maybe it was that cover image, recreating the stunning video cassette box art. Maybe it was even the font of the title logo, which screams 1988 and ignites my nostalgia for the long-gone days of my childhood. Regardless, I couldn't wait to pop Vibes into my Blu-ray player.
I was not disappointed.
The movie is delightfully quirky, seemingly in service of no particular direction or tone. At some points, it's a comedy about characters who are gifted with psychic abilities, while at others, it's a romance. Still at other times, it's an adventure movie that seems to be chasing Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone. It also manages to be a buddy comedy about two opposites that are thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. Somehow, the movie is all of these things while never leaning particularly into pursuing any of them.
Man to Jeff Goldblum: "I'm going to have to kill you."
Jeff Goldbum: "Why? Another nurse will be along any second."
The humor is omni-present, but so subtle and dry that almost every joke is underplayed in a way that I find really refreshing. This movie is completely comfortable with playing by its own rules; it invites us to come along, but it isn't eager to please us. It's just doing its thing, and if we like it, cool. If not, oh well. In that sense, it embodies the same punk-rock uniqueness that made Cyndi Lauper a household name in the first place.
The fact that Vibes has been an obscure title, difficult to find on home media since the fade of the VHS era, is a testament to how far off the radar it truly is, and I'm very thankful to Mill Creek Entertainment for resurrecting this hidden gem for the HD era. Their Blu-ray offers what appears to be a dated high definition transfer, but given the obscurity of this film and the fact that Sony (who holds the keys to Columbia Pictures catalog) isn't likely to do a new remaster any time soon, I'm fairly comfortable saying this is the most love that this wacky little piece of cinema is likely to get, and I'm grateful to have it.