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In severely tailored suits, shellacked hair and bright red lipstick, Demi Moore is the very picture of a 1960s executive trapped by a glass ceiling. At the London Diamond Co., she's demonstrably quicker and sharper than her male colleagues, but has been passed over repeatedly for promotions.

So she's reluctantly receptive when janitor Michael Caine makes what he suggests is a flawless proposition. He's planning a heist — a handful of raw diamonds from the safe will never be missed, he tells her — but he needs her help with the safe combination. Simple enough, except that after she agrees, she realizes the janitor's been telling her only part of his plan.

Michael Radford (Il Postino) directs with the sort of British reserve that would better serve a cleverer script; this old-fashioned one, penned by Edward Anderson, is at best workmanlike, with a caper neither ingenious nor credible enough to sustain interest or justify the film's ornate conclusion. This despite some engaging acting from both leads — and from an increasingly apoplectic Joss Ackland as their boss.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.