The January Man (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

The January Man1989

The January Man (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

This offbeat police thriller with heavy doses of humor was written by John Patrick Shanley, the former playwright who wrote Cher's hit romantic comedy Moonstruck. Kevin Kline stars as Nick Starkey, a brilliant former New York City police detective who has been exiled to the fire department because of his unorthodox ways. He's called back to service by his police commissioner brother Frank (Harvey Keitel) in the hopes that he can find a bizarre serial killer who's been murdering one woman a month. Nick's condition to agreeing to help is that he gets to cook dinner for Frank and his snooty wife Christine (Susan Sarandon), a former girlfriend of his. Ultimately, Nick uses his Zen-like intuition and some high-tech computer hardware (with prominent product placement plugs) to find the killer, pausing to have an affair with the mayor's beautiful daughter Bernadette (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. In the improbable conclusion, Nick figures out the exact day the killer will strike and the exact apartment! January Man is too tongue-in-cheek to be taken seriously as a thriller. In addition to Keitel and Sarandon the stellar supporting cast includes Rod Steiger as the mayor and Danny Aiello as a tough police captain who rails against Nick's "beatnik" ways.

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Kevin Kline
as Nick Starkey
Rod Steiger
as Mayor Eamon Flynn
Susan Sarandon
as Christine Starkey
Harvey Keitel
as Frank Starkey
Danny Aiello
as Capt. Vincent Alcoa
Faye Grant
as Alison Hawkins
Kenneth Welsh
as Roger Culver
Bill Cobbs
as Detective Reilly
Greg Walker
as January Man
Gerard Parkes
as Rev. Drew
Errol Slue
as Chief Sunday
Kenneth Welsh
as Roger Culver
Bill Cwikowski
as Press Representative
Paul Geier
as Det. Muse
Elizabeth Karr
as Newscaster-Reporter
Jerry Rector
as Newscaster-Reporter
James Ryan
as Newscaster-Reporter
Grant Shaud
as Newscaster-Reporter
Joan Heney
as Claire
J.B. Waters
as Police Officer
Richard Johnson
as Newscaster-Reporter
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Critic Reviews for The January Man

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (1)

It wants to be zany but violent, satirical but slapstick, romantic but cynical. It wants some of its actors to rant and rave like amateur tragedians, and others to reach for subtle nuances. And it wants all of these things to happen at the same time.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

This star-studded, schizophrenic movie can't decide whether it's a thriller or a quirky comedy - so it bounces back and forth, and the result is a stilted, nearly unwatchable mess.

January 13, 2022 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Too many of the performances need a lot of toning down. But the whole movie revels in its own daffiness, which gives it an engaging personality all its own.

January 4, 2018 | Full Review…

The film sets out to be large, dramatic and powerful -- as well as endearing -- and misses on every point.

December 11, 2017 | Full Review…

good mystery

May 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/5

A strange suspense thriller that is uninvolving.

September 8, 2002 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for The January Man

Some barely coherent political cover up subplot kept me from getting hooked by this movie. Kline plays the funny central character who marches to the beat of his own drum. He isn't exactly welcomed when he returns to being a detective to catch a serial killer. Aiello plays the captain of police who butts heads with Kline's character. Rickman plays a quirky artist-type friend of Kline's. Mastrantonio wants the mystery solved because she was close to one of the victims, wants out from under the thumb of her father the mayor, and falls way too quickly for Kline's charms. The way the killer is tracked down is offbeat and while the movie has some good moments I found it strange that all these characters were thrown together in something so disjointed.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

I re-watched this recently, and I just had to lower my rating for it, it's worse than I remembered it. The story is predictable, cliched, and none of the characters are very interesting, especially the main guy played by Kline, who can't act. The rest of the cast is good, but they don't get a good script to work with. I did not like this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Wretched writing and poorly directed. I can give you six good reasons why this film should have been a hell of a lot better: Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Keitel, Danny Aiello, Rod Steiger and Alan Rickman.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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