Caught

on September 10, 1996 by Carole Glines
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   When a married woman has an affair with a hunky younger man in "Caught," one fears the film is glorified daytime drama--with Maria Conchita Alonso in the sultry Susan Lucci role. But the filmmakers introduce a truly twisted character in the second half, taking the story in a new and intense direction.
   Newcomer Arie Verveen plays Nick, a homeless Irishman who stumbles into a New Jersey fish market owned by Joe (Edward James Olmos) and Betty (Alonso) while running from police. Immediately attracted, Betty asks her husband to hire Nick as an assistant. Against his judgment, Nick takes the job and even moves in with the feuding couple, whose grown son Danny (Steven Schub) is trying to make it in Hollywood. Nick becomes a son to Joe and a lover to Betty, but complications arise when Joe decides to sell the shop--and then Danny arrives home and discovers his mother's affair.
   "Caught" features cheesy scenes of Nick and Betty in lusty glance, Nick parading barechested, and an embarrassed Betty fumbling to cover herself after the hunk glimpses her exiting the shower. A lot of heavy breathing precedes the inevitable moment (in front of an open refrigerator door!). Making believable that Joe doesn't catch on to a blistering affair happening in his own two-bedroom apartment is beyond scripter Edward Pomerantz, adapting his novel "Into It."
   Happily, "Caught" takes a more somber, unpredictable tone when Danny appears. Though the leads, particularly a low-energy Olmos, pale beside him, Schub burns up the screen as a son eaten up inside over his career failure and abnormal maternal attachment. Danny's manic spirit leads to a fitting climax in which no one is spared.    Starring Edward James Olmos, Maria Conchita Alonso and Arie Verveen. Directed by Robert M. Young. Written by Edward Pomerantz. Produced by Richard Brick and Irwin Young. A Sony Classics release. Rated R for strong sexuality and language, and for some violence and drug use. Running time: 109 min. Opens Wednesday Sept. 18 in New York.
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