February 23, 1987 12:00 PM

HBO (Wed., Feb. 18, 11 p.m. ET)


For his first cable special (he must have been just about the last breathing American to get one) Bruce Willis borrows a trick tried before—with much success by This Is Spinal Tap and without so much by John Candy and Eugene Levy with their Shmenge brothers. Willis adds loads of nice twists and touches of his own as he creates an imaginary rock legend named Bruno and makes a documentary about him. Bruno has done it all: He brought the Beatles together. He made Woodstock free. He was Bruce Lee. The guy has more famed friends than Robin Leach, and they all come to praise him: Michael J. Fox, Elton John, Ringo Starr, Phil Collins, Bon Jovi, Brian Wilson and, of course, Dick Clark. Willis is best when he blasts Bruno into the past to mock American Bandstand, Woodstock the movie, psychedelic rock and Disco John Travolta. When he sings a soft ballad—the Temptations’ Under the Boardwalk—he’s surprisingly okay. But in the last half, when he rocks for real before a live audience, Willis shows us that he can’t shout songs quite as well as Don Johnson. So Springsteen he ain’t. Funny he is. The special won’t make Willis a rock star, but it does add to his portfolio as an entertainer. (And by the way, as an extra added attraction, you get to see Willis with a full head of hair—a Beatles pageboy and hippie hanks. Believe it or not, he looks better in his usual sparse and spiky tufts.)

You May Like