CLEAN AIR TESTING PERIOD FOR VEHICLES REVS UP

by Patricia Davis

News Reporter

Beginning Monday, owners of vehicles built in odd-number years, 1969 and newer, can bring their vehicles in for early, "no fault" testing of their emission-control systems.

The new, federally mandated test, under the Texas Clean Air Act and coordinated by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, goes into effect Jan. 2 and requires vehicle owners to get their vehicles, 1968 and newer, tested every two years in order to get their license renewed. The early testing – from Monday through Dec. 30 – allows owners to get their vehicles tested and only pay for the test should the vehicle pass.

The test is mandated for 90 communities nationwide and in Texas includes Brazoria, Collin, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson, Montgomery, Orange and Tarrant counties. In 1997, Chambers, Liberty and Waller counties will fall under the law. Vehicles built in odd-number years will be tested in odd-number years, and vehicles built in even-number years will be tested in even-number years. Motorcycles and "antique" cars will not be required to take the test.

The Houston/Galveston area will have 27 test facilities, each with up to six test lanes. The stations will not be allowed to make repairs and will conduct emission-control testing only. Each station will be open 54 hours per week, including seven hours on Saturday.

Robin Broussard, public information manager for Tejas Testing Technology, managing contractors of the program, said they expect 6500 vehicles in the Houston/Galveston area to take advantage of the early testing.

"If your car doesn't pass, it gives you time to fix it before the program begins in January," Broussard said.

Joe Britt, assistant used-car manager at Greenspoint Dodge-Isuzu, said they will have their cars there the first day. However, Britt slammed the program and called it a "tax on the poor."

"You hurt the guy who has a $2,000 car he took care of for 15 years so he could put his kids through school," Britt said. "I personally have a problem with a private agency administering the program."

Dan Platz, owner of Anderson Motors, said he didn't see the program working.

"They'll put too many low-income people out of transportation," Platz said. "People with high incomes have new cars that will pass – it won't hurt them."

Broussard said vehicles that don't pass can get a waiver for up to two years to make necessary repairs, but Platz said many owners won't be able to afford even small repairs.

Texas Attorney General Dan Morales released a statement that said both buyers and sellers of used vehicles should be leery of emission systems that have been modified or altered in any fashion. Under the Texas Clean Air Act, violators – people who sell or lease vehicles that have been tampered with – are subject to fines up to $25,000 per violation.

For additional information or for a map showing test-station locations, call 1-800-460-1200.

 

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UH AWARDS 87 SCHOLARSHIPS FOR '94-95

by Niki Purcell

Daily Cougar Staff

The University of Houston awarded 87 scholarships to students for the 1994-'95 term.

Two special scholarships are the President's Diversity Scholarship for Transfer Students and the Academic Excellence Award.

"The city of Houston as well as the university can offer me the multicultural and community exposure I need to become a successful counseling psychologist," said Myron Day, recipient of the transfer scholarship.

This scholarship recognizes outstanding African American, Hispanic and Native American transfer students. Recipients are eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees.

According to Dennis B. Williams, spokesman for the UH Office of Media Relations, "Myron's scholarship has allowed him to focus just on school, so he is able to take as many courses as he feels he needs and not have to worry about finances, employment and other distractions that prevent a positive focus on academics."

"As an African American from a small city, I felt I needed to move around and go wherever my talents and interests would lead me," Day said.

Eligibility for the President's Diversity Scholarship for Transfer Students is based on acceptance to UH, an overall 3.0 GPA or better and completion of at least 30 transferable semester hours from an accredited college or university. Application deadlines are June 1 for the fall and Dec. 1 for the spring.

The Academic Excellence Award is awarded to outstanding minorities enrolling as freshmen in the fall semester immediately after graduating high school. It's based upon acceptance to UH, official SAT and ACT scores, class rank, high school grades and involvement in extracurricular activities. The application deadline is April 1.

 

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HEY KIDS, LET'S GO TO HOOTERS FOR DINNER!

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

Photos by: Christobal Perez

When one thinks of Hooters, the restaurant chain known more for its waitresses and their uniforms (or lack thereof), the last thing to come to mind is good food, family fun and an excellent way for students to pay for school. But that is exactly what it offers.

So says Hooters waitress and UH student Dana Dicker, a senior speech communications major who works at the Hooters on Kirby and Highway 59.

Dicker, like many students here at UH, works to pay her bills. She just happens to do it in a restaurant that many find unacceptable.

"I just think that if it bothers them so much, don't come here," she said. "I think a lot of what you hear is fabricated."

Those rumors make Hooters seem almost like a topless bar and a place of business dedicated to the demoralization of women, but Dicker disagrees.

"It's not a titty bar," she said. "You don't have to wear the tank-top; it's up to your own preference.

"You see before you get hired what the uniform is. They don't force you to wear anything."

The most common uniform is the cut tank-top, but the waitresses can wear fuller tanks, T-shirts and long-sleeve shirts.

Another myth is that these waitresses are sexual objects, Dicker says, adding that she has never been harassed by any customers in her year-and-a-half at Hooters.

"They know you have a boyfriend," she said. "They're just here to have a good time and talk."

And "they" doesn't just mean men.

During this interview, which took place about 5:30 p.m. on a Friday, 12 of the tables in the restaurant had women sitting at them. In fact, one women came in with three children ages 10-12.

But this should not seem strange because Dicker maintains that Hooters is a family restaurant, adding that the business has set aside Saturday as kids day.

It is also a restaurant for students, especially those looking for extra work while in class, Dicker said, adding that it is very accommodating to students.

She estimated that about 60 percent of the employees there are going to school, adding that one has a bachelor's degree and is in medical school.

"You tell them what your schedule is, and they work around it," she said. "And you get to hang out with the girls all night.

"They pay for a lot of your schooling," she added. "I can't think of one other waiter's job where they pay for your education."

She went on to say that Hooters rewards its employees like many parents did for their children in elementary school – the better your report card, the more money. Dicker seems to be taking full advantage of the situation, and at the same time dispelling more myths behind the Hooters mystique.

This waitress is the current owner of an overall GPA of 3.1 and plans to attend graduate school.

"Just because you're a Hooter girl doesn't mean you're a Hooter girl forever."

But aside from all these benefits, Dicker said it's just a great place to work.

"At other waiter jobs, it's real formal, and you have to be so strict," she said. "It's laid back (at Hooters).

"Everyone gets along well and does stuff after work."

She came to Hooters after a friend of hers told her "she made good money and had a good time."

Before working at Hooters, Dicker had various jobs and decided to wait tables; now she said she is making good money.

"I couldn't make at an office job what I make here," she said.

Aside from it being a place for students to work, it's also a place for students to hang out.

The clientele very often has a UH slant, Dicker said. Houston fraternities, students and others all frequent the restaurant, she said.

The only drawback is the stereotype.

Dicker said that when the Hooters at this location first opened, there was a protest from a feminist group.

"I think the people who think it's wrong have never been here before," she said. "I think everyone should come to Hooters and see what it's like."

 

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ROCK 'N' ROLL 101

New class explores history of modern music

by Stephen Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

Don't view your collection of CDs as music gluttony, think of it as research for one of your classes.

Sound too good to be true? Maybe you should look into a new class offered by the school of music. The History of Pop, Rock and Blues is an elective open to all students.

The Music Department is oriented toward a classical and jazz program. This is the first time a class in popular music has been offered at UH. It goes over the history of contemporary music from 1950 to the present.

"The class will trace the development of the music from the mating of rhythm and blues and hillbilly music that led to rock 'n' roll, covering the '60s and '70s and '80s right up to the Lollapalooza phenomenon and rap," said Rick Mitchell, the class's instructor.

Mitchell started out his career as a music critic for the Cal State Fullerton Paper and a drummer in a rock, jazz and funk band. He has gone on to become one of the music reviewers for the Houston Chronicle.

The class will be geared toward music history, not music criticism; however, Mitchell emphasized that if you're interested in being a music critic, you should also be a music historian in order to know what you're talking about.

In addition to playing a lot of music in class, he hopes to use other mediums, like showing classic movies about rock music. He hopes the class will be a lot of fun, encouraging people to trace the roots of modern music and experience how it has evolved into what they listen to now.

Howard Pollack, associate professor of music, has met with Rick Mitchell and likes the idea of a contemporary-music class. "I'm excited to have Rick Mitchell teach the course. He's exciting, lively and will be wonderful in the classroom," Pollack said.

So if you're interested in modern music and the evolution of rock, then sign up for the class, turn up the volume and study.

 

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COUGARS TRY TO REACH FINAL FOUR

Houston faces Florida on road to keep hopes alive

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

The problem with an NCAA Tournament is that if a team loses, it goes home. There is no tomorrow, and after every round, half the teams in the tourney pack their bags.

When the Houston volleyball team leaves today to travel to Gainesville, Fla., it will be one of 16 teams left in the fight for the national title. If the No. 17 Cougars (25-6) beat No. 14 Florida (28-5) when they face the Gators Thursday, they will go up Friday against the winner of the game between No. 3 UCLA and No. 21 Duke.

If the Cougars win that game, they advance to the Final Four, but first, they have to face Florida. This is exactly what Houston head coach Bill Walton wants the team to remember, that it has to face Florida first.

"The excitement of what could be is the danger," Walton said.

To keep the team loose, Walton said he has tried to ensure that practices stay the same as they have all season, look at the team's Southwest Conference Championship rings and try not to put any extra emphasis on the game, not that it needs any.

"There's enough energy just for what we're playing for," he said.

Other dangers than the fear of looking to the finals do exist. Walton's greatest fear in facing Florida is the fact that the game is being played in the Gators' home arena, despite the Cougars having a higher seeding.

"It's just one of those situations," Walton said.

After the Cougars' win against Clemson Saturday, Cougar stand-out Lilly Denoon-Chester said she was almost happy to be taking on Florida in Florida.

"We've lost there twice in the last four years," Walton said of the way the Cougars have bowed out of the NCAAs in the past.

A road win would keep doomsayers from saying Houston could only win at home, thereby summoning the "fluke excuse," Walton said. All season, he has maintained that Houston is a team that gets no respect, but two wins this weekend would cure that.

To win, the Cougars will face Florida, a matchup Walton likes. The Cougars work from the middle to the outside and use the slide. The Gators, like the majority of the teams Houston has faced this season, like the outside.

"It's a classic confrontation," Walton said.

The outside will be the same that Houston saw last year when the two teams met in the second round; the middle is new. This is the first time the Cougars have made it to the Sweet 16.

The player to watch will be Jenny Wood from the right side. Walton said the Gators like to run 32s, as opposed to last year, when they used the slide. The 32 is a low-lob set, and the slide is when a middle hitter runs along the net and hits back across the court.

In the middle for the Cougars is Denoon-Chester, a senior hitter and SWC Player of the Year, and sophomore Marie-Claude Tourillon.

Against Clemson, Denoon-Chester led the team with 23 kills, and Tourillon was second with 14. But Walton said offense, which is what Houston is known for, is not the key; instead, it is the defense.

"We're the best defensive team in the region," Walton said.

That defensive prowess was demonstrated against Clemson, when the Cougars held the Tigers scoreless until the score was 11-0; the Cougars won the game 15-1. Tourillon had six block assists, and sophomore Emily Leffers had five. Houston outblocked the Tigers 9-3 and outdug them 64-47. Senior Carla Maul led the team in digs, as she has all season, with 17.

If the Cougars win both games this week, they will face the winner of the Mideast bracket in the semifinals. Both the semifinal games and the final game will be played in Austin Dec. 15-17.

 

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RECORD OF ACCOMPLISHMENT MEANS LITTLE TO COACH KENLAW

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

Don't let the Houston Lady Cougars' 3-1 basketball record fool you.

Although the Cougars are probably exceeding expectations, playing with just seven players in their lineup, who are all newcomers to the team, coach Jessie Kenlaw is still not completely impressed.

"We really haven't been tested yet," Kenlaw said, following Houston's 80-63 victory over Lamar Tuesday night in Hofheinz Pavilion. "The teams we have played this year have sort of helped us out."

In addition to Tuesday's win over the Cardinals, the Cougars have defeated Detroit (81-80) and Prairie View A&M (83-45) – true, not teams that instill fear.

It should also be pointed out that Houston's last two victories have been won by a combined 56 points for a 28-point average margin of victory.

"The caliber of competition we've faced so far hasn't allowed us to see how good we really are, but our next game will," Kenlaw said.

Indeed, the Cougars will face Top 25 opponent Southern California Friday night in Hofheinz while another perennial power, Stephen F. Austin, will come calling Dec. 17.

In fact, during the next four games, the Cougars are to face teams that each made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament last year.

"Believe me, USC is going to come in here wanting to run us out of our own gymnasium," Kenlaw said. "Though our record indicates that we have played well, in order to accomplish our goals, I feel like we must play well against the top 25 teams, so that way, we can see where we are and how much farther we need to go."

With the seven players getting all of the production thus far, the experience could turn beneficial as the team awaits the return of three players who proved viable last season.

Sophomore forward and All-Southwest Conference candidate Pat Luckey should be ready to play sometime around Dec. 26, along with senior guard Antoinette Isaac and sophomore guard Traci Bell.

All three are sitting out the fall semester because of academic difficulties.

"It's important for us to be especially ready for conference season," Kenlaw said. "By that time, the seven (players) we have now will have played some with our three (others) we have coming back, and we should be able to be more competitive."

 

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LADY COUGARS CATCH REDBIRDS IN 80-63 VICTORY

Houston dominates boards, uses second chances to beat Lamar in Hofheinz

by R. L. Lang

Contributing Writer

The Lady Cougars moved to 3-1 as they defeated the Lamar Cardinals (1-2) 80-63 Tuesday night in Hofheinz Pavilion in front of 143 spectators.

"They out-played us and deserved to win," Lamar head coach David McKay said. "They dominated the boards, and I thought that was a big key. We gave them so many second-chance shots, it was unreal."

The Cougars out-rebounded the Cardinals 58-32. Freshman forward Jennifer Jones lead the Cougars with 18 rebounds, followed by Jerrie Cooper with 14.

"They controlled the game. They played harder and wanted it more. They out-rebounded us," Cardinal guard Lisa McMahon said.

McMahon fouled out of the game with less than two minutes left in the game. Cardinal guard Jodie Brand and Megan Starr also fouled out.

"The first half, I thought the officiating was pretty tight; the second half, they let us play," McKay said. "The Cougars have a freshman team; they have a lot of athleticism, and when they get Pat Luckey back, they are going to be pretty good."

The top scorer for the Cardinals, Karen Degon, who has been averaging 30 points a game, was held to 24 points.

"Karen is a good offensive player, but defensively, she's got to pick it up a notch," McKay said.

However, Cougar head coach Jessie Kenlaw said she wasn't happy with the way the team contained Degon and the way it played the second half.

"It was horrendous. We did not control the ball. Our game plan was to contain Degon. She looked like an All-American out there," Kenlaw said.

McMahon, who scored only seven points, said the Cardinals usually score 80 points a game. "We didn't shoot well," she said.

The top scorer for the Cougars was Jerrie Cooper with 24 points. Rosheda Hopson followed with 22, then Jennifer Jones with 15. Tanda Rucker lead the Cougars in assists with seven.

Kenlaw said freshman center Rosheda Hopson could have had a much better game.

"Rosheda scored a quiet 22 points, but she should've had 44. She is a player who is capable of scoring 30 or 40 points a game if she would get more down inside," Kenlaw said.

The Cougars will be challenged by Southern California Friday at Hofheinz.

"We will have our hands full. They are a versatile team, and their top seven or eight players are very athletic. They are up-tempo, a run-and-gun team," Kenlaw said.

Of USC, Hopson said, "I am looking forward to playing them. I am happy to get a chance to meet Cheryl Miller (USC's coach). I've heard they are a good team, but I am playing one game at a time."

After the game, Hopson was talking with some girls from the team's mentor program with Ryan Middle School and Douglas Elementary.

"We talk with them, help them with their school work, go to activities and watch each other's home games. We serve as role models for them," Hopson said.

 

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FEEL OUT THIS BAND: YOU'LL LIKE IT

Seattle band Life Like Feel's self-titled debut is worth a listen.

Photo by Rich Andrews/Propaganda!

by Deanna Koshkin

Contributing Writer

Life Like Feel, a four-member Seattle band, has recently released its first album, which has a tough, progressive edge. The group can also be heard on two other compilation albums.

After the band had an opportunity to record a few songs in the studio, not to mention its bedroom and living room, its song "Come To Me" managed to find it's way onto <I>The Seattle Music Scene<P> (volume one). Later, a friend arranged for a meeting with Kelly Gray of Candlebox, who was so impressed with the band that he wanted to produce and help record with the band right away. This collaboration resulted in "Start All Over Again," the song that eventually got the group signed.

When Life Like Feel heard that <I>Propaganda!<P>, the new and upcoming Rock the Vote release, was being produced, the group submitted a tape of "Start All Over Again." This song caught the attention of George Telegadis, who organized the <I>Propaganda!<P> compilation. Not only was the band chosen for the release, it was offered a record contract with the newly formed Phisst records.

The innovative sound of Life Like Feel's self-titled release prevents it from being labeled as the typical Seattle grunge band. The album kicks off with "Can't Reach You" and manages to hold its own all the way through to "Feel Your Release." This 11-track release includes a variety of influences and inspirations, giving the band a diverse and original feel.

Life Like Feel plans to tour within the year and plans to participate in a U.S. college tour to promote <I>Propaganda!<P> with other bands. If you get a chance, check them out. You won't be disappointed.

 

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<I>X-FILES<P> AN EXCITING ESCAPE

Photo by Michael Grecco/Fox

Gillian Anderson (left) and David Duchovny star in the Fox hit show <I>The X-Files<P>.

by Rosario Peña

Daily Cougar Staff

Staying home on Friday nights is slowly becoming the "in" thing for many Americans. Whether it is a group of college students, grandmothers or business professionals, all are glued to their seats for another episode of the critically acclaimed hour-long series <I>The X-Files<P>. The show has become a phenomenon that is catching the attention of many on-line computer users.

The show stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, two FBI agents assigned to investigate unsolved cases (X-Files) within the bureau. Many cases involve the paranormal or deal with government conspiracy.

One episode last season involved the agents encountering two identical, nonrelated little girls who committed identical murders simultaneously, one living on the East Coast and the other on the West Coast.

The series's implication that "The truth is out there" is what drives Mulder. Complemented by Scully, the skeptic, it is a search that leads them to uncover the truth. As a medical doctor, Scully is in need of scientific proof, though she has had more than one experience that defies scientific explanation.

Last season, Mulder and Scully encountered a genetically mutated serial killer who emerges every 30 years from hibernation, needing to consume five human lives.

Earlier this year, many fans began chatting on-line; in fact, this addiction to the unknown has many fans on-line directly after each show for discussion. So much so that this season, Delphi on-line service has offered fans the chance to communicate directly with <I>X-Files<P> producers via a series of on-line forums that will be scheduled throughout the season.

Creator Chris Carter has also been involved in an on-line forum answering fans' questions. A vote on-line concluded that fans of <I>The X-Files<P> be called "X-Philes." Through Delphi, a variety of <I>X-Files<P> memorabilia is sold, including T-shirts.

Through one on-line service, many fans have created "followings" for the actors, like the DDEB, (David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade), GATB (Gillian Anderson Testosterone Brigade) and the Duchovniks. Lists of character quotes have become known as "Mulderisms" and "Scullyisms."

"Rather than read all through the posts, I get my information through the mailing list, which is comprised of about 60 women who have at least 30 messages a day," UH senior biology major Fazia Rizvi said. Rizvi is part of the original DDEB, which is now closed to new members prompting the formation of DDEB2 for the growing number of users wanting to sign up.

The show has a book, <I>The X-Files: Goblins<P> by Charles Grant, in stores now and a comic book due out in January. To access the user group on campus, access Jetson and at the $ prompt, enter vnews. At the group action, type g alt. tv. x-files then hit return.

Join Mulder and Scully as they unravel a new mystery in a new episode, "The Red Museum," airing 8 p.m. Friday on Fox. Watch it once, and you may be calling yourself an X-Phile.

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CHILI PEPPERS <I>OUT IN L.A.<P>

Anthony Kiedis (left) and Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers should make die-hard fans happy with <I>Out In L.A.<P>.

Photo by Gavin Bowden/Warner Bros.

by Joey Guerra

News Reporter

With the release of its latest CD, <I>Out In L.A.<P>, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are sure to score with dance-club DJs and hard-core fans everywhere.

Kicking off the first of four remixes is the 12-inch vocal mix of "Higher Ground," the group's breakthrough hit. This new version, mixed by Dave Jerden, soars above the original by use of a rhythmic bass line throughout the entire song. It really makes you want to boogie.

Unfortunately, the remaining three remixes fail to inspire a dance craze. They all start off promising, but soon fall into repetitive beats and incoherent mumbo jumbo. The Pink Mustang Mix (whatever that means) of "If You Want Me To Stay" amounts to a monotonous bass line accompanied by barking dogs, crying babies and a muffled police-car siren.

The live tracks on the album are a bit more interesting, but seem unmotivated.

Anthony Kiedis, lead vocalist of the band, sleepwalks his way through the band's live rendition of the Jimi Hendrix tune, "Castles Made of Sand." The production values on this song are terrible and have a recorded-in-my-friend's-garage feel to them.

The album quickly picks up, though, when the demo versions and unreleased tracks appear. Through these early versions of future songs and unreleased tracks, the influence of punk, metal and rap can be heard clearly.

"Get Up and Jump" has a raw, energetic sound to it and is reminiscent of the Jackson Five song "ABC." Yes, that's right, the Jackson Five.

"Sex Rap" seems to be trying to excite the listener into wanting to have sex, but lyrics like "Open your legs to the sensual sound" aren't exactly poetic. Nevertheless, it is an amusing track.

Helping the demo tracks along are excellent guitar and drum accompaniments by the band, and while Kiedis doesn't exactly have the vocal range of Whitney Houston, he is able to incorporate some interesting variations into his singing.

The last few tracks on the CD are the most unusual. "You Always Sing the Same" is a 13-second repetition of the title with a heavy drum and guitar. "Stranded" sounds like some sort of armed-forces drill song. You can just see the troops marching to the beat of the drum.

The most socially conscious song on the CD is "What It Is," an edgy tribute to peace, love and happiness. Kiedis sings, "Don't let the world's racist views give your pretty face a frown." It is a surprisingly effective track, stripped away of everything but Kiedis' voice and a guitar.

Also a surprise is the inclusion of the traditional Christmas carol "Deck the Halls," just in time for Santa Claus. The group does its best imitation of a happy holiday family, with guitarist Flea supplying the high-pitched voice of a woman. When the band forgets the lyrics, the band sings, "Something, something yuletide carol."

Overall, this is not a bad album. While this type of collection may seem unnecessary or even egotistical, <I>Out In L.A.<P> provides a fun and interesting look at the development of the Red Hot Chili Peppers into one of today's most popular bands.

 

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MEDIEVAL MORALITY MOVIE MAKES FOR MONOLITHIC MESS

Amina Annabi (left) and Colin Firth star in Leslie Megahey's directorial debut, <I>The Advocate<P>.

Photo courtesy of Miramax

by Colin A. Tangeman

Contributing Writer

Perhaps the key to unlocking the theme of <I>The Advocate<P> exists in a one-sentence synopsis. How about "A bawdy medieval romp with an underlying morality tale," or, conversely, "A treatise on the state of the human condition with accompanying comic relief." That's about as certain as one can be when trying to pin down this thoroughly muddled first effort from director Leslie Megahey.

The opening scene of <I>The Advocate<P> is rather disingenuous, as it is the only worthwhile segment of the entire film. It is a genuinely funny moment that might have been inspired by Monty Python.

The scene involves the hanging of a man and a "she-ass" for an unlawful coupling. The donkey is pardoned at the last moment, but unfortunately, I had to sit through the rest of the film.

Megahey, who is also the writer of <I>The Advocate<P>, might have considered a change of premise. The story of the renaissance man fleeing to the countryside to shed truth and order on the ignorant heads of the peasantry is so dog-eared it's ridiculous.

In the film, Colin Firth portrays this enlightened soul, a well-intentioned lawyer who spends the majority of the film dealing with an odd assortment of rustic trials that range from bestiality and adultery to witchcraft.

These trials quickly become tiresome, and that is when Firth becomes entangled in the proverbial meat of the story: a murder mystery that has his character crossing swords with the feudal law of the land.

During the course of solving this mystery, Firth loses his idealism, regains his idealism and proceeds to have romances with three different women, including an Egyptian gypsy played by Amina Annabi. If any of this seems remotely intriguing to you, be advised that the director thinks comedy has something to do with interspersing a love scene with the crowing of a rooster.

Another dismal aspect of <I>The Advocate<P> is director Megahey's attempt to weave together some sort of poignant morality play amidst the comedy. The synthesis of the comedic tone and the dramatic is a difficult process, and it seems very apparent after sitting through this film that Megahey lacks the subtlety to pull it off.

At its inception, I am certain that the makers of <P>The Advocate<P> – Megahey, Firth and actor Ian Holm – were full of good intentions. But unfortunately, Megahey never decided on whether he was making a comedy/drama or a drama/comedy. He did, however, manage to make a thorough mess.

<I>The Advocate<P>

Director: Leslie Megahey

Stars: Colin Firth, Ian Holm

One-and-a-half stars

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