March 28, 1988 12:00 PM

This film has a suspenseful script by former Miami Vice writer Dick Wolf, a good supporting cast, David (Out of Africa) Watkin’s luscious photography and a John Barry score. What it lacks is a male lead to complete the picture. Director Bob (Half Moon Street) Swaim got a lot of good performances here, but Rob Lowe’s isn’t one of them. Meg (Agnes of God) Tilly, quietly mesmerizing, stands out even though her character, a young heiress, is meek by design. Her conniving stepfather, John (TV’s Nutcracker) Glover (the best sleazy-character actor in the business), is bent on making Tilly’s idyllic summer on Long Island a nightmare. Lowe plays a professional sailor who breezes in and out of bed with Tilly and his boss’s wife, Kim (Mannequin) Cattrall. It shows. He sleepwalks from one scene to the next, showing zip emotion, except by furrowing his brow. Tilly’s ex-boyfriend, Doug (Hanoi Hilton) Savant, is now a cop who’s jealous of Lowe. “That kind of money is its own prison,” his father tells him after Tilly and Lowe wed. “Lock me up,” replies Savant, who sees Lowe for what he is: an opportunistic playboy. Or is he? To tell more would spoil what little fun there is, but the title doesn’t refer just to Tilly’s 32-foot sloop. There’s a graphic sex scene between Lowe and Tilly to rival the limo bit in No Way Out. And like that film, Masquerade hinges on the unexpected. But the shocker doesn’t seem genuine. By the end, a dippy epilogue, you feel the Masquerade should have been over a long time ago. (R)

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