“Formosa” is a quaint tale about love, redemption and unity in the face of adversity all set against the backdrop of a failing movie studio that specializes in putting out “social guidance films” for the teens of the ‘50s. When the studio’s head, Sid Silver (Steven Gilborn) and his lovely daughter, Anne Marie (Jessica Kiper), come across Clay Crawford (Jamieson Stern), they think they’ve found the answer to their problems. After all, Clay is a trained actor who is willing to help them out on what could be their last film. The only catch? Clay is actually a con man who is being hunted by Lucky (Geoffrey Lewis), a Texan lawman. Of course, an evil banker (Ted Gregory) is thrown in the mix, too. He is attempting to take over the studio and marry Anne Marie, who has fallen in love with Clay.
You can see where this film is going almost right from the first line of dialogue. And things like the marriage subplot, which comes across as forced at best, don’t help matters. That said, the film is still fairly enjoyable despite its very standard outcome. All the actors are up to the task (and let’s face it, any time spent watching Kiper is worth it), and the story is solid despite its flaws.
This film is not going to knock anyone’s socks off, but it is a fine way to spend eighty-six minutes. I only wish the conclusion wouldn’t have been so transparent.