The New York Times
December 14, 1984

At the Movies

Written by Janet Maslin

His accent in ''Beverly Hills Cop'' will send linguists reeling, but Bronson Pinchot, who has a small role as an assistant in an art gallery, was originally not supposed to speak with one.  Mr. Pinchot was cast as a non-Frenchman named Jacques, and all he had to do was look snobbish, answer a few of Eddie Murphy's questions and offer the star a drink.  However, Mr. Pinchot, a 25-year-old English major from Yale whose natural speaking voice is nothing out of the ordinary, had his own ideas about how to handle the role.

Having just completed work on an exploitation film called ''Hot Resort'' for the Israeli company Cannon Films (''sub-porno,'' Mr. Pinchot called it), the actor had been mimicking the accents of the crew, particularly that of a makeup woman.  He brought some of this to his effete ''Beverly Hills Cop'' character, but also managed to switch some vowels, throwing in an ''eye'' sound whenever possible, and to garble the language.  So a simple line like ''How can I help you?'' became, from Mr. Pinchot, ''And what it's perteyening?''

Mr. Pinchot - who says the director, Martin Brest, was careful to make sure his scenes didn't become skits unto themselves - also suggested a name change.  Though he has other acting experience (a small role in ''Risky Business,'' performances in the upcoming ''Flamingo Kid'' and Martin Scorsese's ''After Hours''), Mr. Pinchot has also done time in such nonacting fields as catering.  He had once worked for a Swiss caterer, ''a real prima donna,'' who liked to remind people that his name was pronounced ''Sairge,'' not ''Serge.''  So ''Sairge'' it became.

Mr. Pinchot, when last heard from, was marveling at the unanticipated attention the film has brought him (he is not even mentioned in Paramount's press kit) and paying his first visits to the Russian Tea Room.  Meanwhile, ''Beverly Hills Cop'' is cleaning up.  It set an industry record for nonsummer openings, grossing $22,220,188 in its first week in 1,532 theaters.