This is not one of Jeff Goldblum's better-known movies, which is too bad because it really lets him shine in a comedic role. A crazy romp from start to finish, "Vibes" is unpretentious and unapologetic; it isn't art, it's fun. Built up out of a creative plot, strong cast and nicely honed writing, this is a great example of a good 80's film, stylish, smart and funny.
The premise is simple: A terrifying source of power---psychic power, it turns out---is discovered in South America. People who come into first- or secondhand contact with it die immediately or disintegrate, neither of which is a nice way to go. The story then switches to a research facility, where psychics with various gifts are being tested, supposedly for research, but the director has ulterior motives. It is at this facility where the viewer first encounters Nick (Goldblum), a man who can pick up knowledge by touching inanimate objects, and Sylvia (Cyndi Lauper), a young woman who has a close friend from the spirit world named Louise who gives Sylvia information, especially about the future. They are chosen by the director of the program, Dr. Steele (Julian Sands), to go on an important trip to the Andes to search for valuable artifacts. Nick is reluctant to go until he receives confirmation that his girlfriend is cheating on him (Sylvia had warned him) and he gets sick of his boss trying to make him do "psychic tricks" to amuse board members. Sylvia, meanwhile, has been approached by a shady character named Harry (the great Peter Falk), who claims his son is lost in South America and offers $50,000 to anyone who will help find him. She convinces Nick to come along and off they go.
From there, it's a series of misadventures and mishaps, including a near-death experience for Nick at the hands of a femme fatale. Nick is bitterly disillusioned to discover that Harry is a con artist and he's stuck with a partner he cannot fathom, as she is totally foreign to his experience. He and Sylvia bicker almost constantly and are, on the face of it, absolute opposites with only their psychic gifts to provide any common ground. However, animosity fades and they develop very strong feelings for one another. The bad guys are on their trail and finally catch up to them, after which Nick and Sylvia learn the truth about what they've been really brought down there to do. The power---in and of itself not evil---is going to be used by Dr. Steele for evil purposes and they must stop him. Harry gets killed and Sylvia loses Louise by the end of it, but the ending is surprisingly happy, with a very charming twist.
There are many good qualities about this movie, including the writing, camera work, music and acting, but by far the best parts involved the interplay between Nick and Sylvia. Jeff Goldblum and Cyndi Lauper played off each other exceedingly well, with a nice natural timing. It's a shame that the two of them didn't make more movies together, especially a sequel to this one. The two actors had a decent chemistry onscreen and were a joy to watch. The supporting cast was also very good, particularly Mr. Falk, and Julian Sands was good as a self-serving villain too wimpy to do his own dirty work. If you're in the mood for light comedy crossed with the bizarre, then this charming movie nicely fills the bill. A must for Jeff Goldblum and/or Cyndi Lauper fans!