Dorian's Movie Reviews
Is it worth seeing? Reviews are presented with no cynicism, no comparisons, no biased standards, no pretentiousness - every movie is reviewed on its individual entertainment value including technical presentation.
Sometimes movies aren't about what they appear to be. This one might be about a thief. Maybe not - I usually get a knot in the pit of my stomach anytime a character does something dishonest that will put him in danger of going to jail or of ruining a relationship. I usually don't go to that kind of movie - I just don't enjoy them. In this movie, Kevin Caffrey (Martin Lawrence) immediately breaks into a house, and then tells his newly-met girlfriend that he is a thief. Come on disaster, get all over him. Doesn't happen. No knot. This movie isn't really about taking risks, it is about two chumps who never grow up, and their tit for tat antics are hilarious.
These are two guys who have to win at any cost, and neither one oozes honesty. Max Fairbanks (Danny DeVito) not only wins the first round by confronting Kevin with a gun, when the police arrive he ups the ante by stealing Kevin's ring from his hand. Both men are emotionally attached to the ring and both must have it. Maybe it's really about the ring... Nah, it's about winning.
Both DeVito and Lawrence really get into their parts and give rollicking performances. They are supported by an excellent cast in which every character is uniquely drawn and who even in small performances are almost as captivating as DeVito and Lawrence. William Fichtner is hilarious as Detective Alex Tardio. Bernie Mac is right on as Uncle Jack. Nora Dunn is very much in character as Max's wealthy wife, Lutetia. Richard Schiff delivers a very believable performance as Max's attorney, as does Glenne Headly as his aide and former mistress, Gloria. The rich characterization doesn't stop here, it continues in several more characters with well written and performed parts that add to the comedy. These supporting characters left me feeling that I wanted to see them again, particularly Tardio and Gloria (William Fichtner and Glenne Headly.
Besides good casting by Producer Lawrence Turman and Casting Director, John Papsidera, and colorful character writing by Donald Westlake, I can't help but think that the stage experience of Director Sam Weisman and many of the actor's lent a strong influence to the characterization. It's more typical for this many good characters to come through in a stage play or novel.
If movies about crooks turn you off, you will be pleasantly surprised with this one. The only thing they really steal is your low spirit, and give you a smile in return. I give this one four spotlights out of a possible five for the writer, actors, director, and the casting director. It carries a PG-13 rating. Enjoy!
Note: No half spotlights are given.
My reviews are not based much on my personal taste, or any standard besides entertainment value. I try to be as objective as possible, keeping in mind that entertainment value is very subjective and individualized. If I'm not interested in a movie I usually don't go see it, so it doesn't get reviewed. Each character, and each position in the production company might be highlighted if the contribution affected the enjoyment of the story as either outstanding or dismal and I noticed it, keeping in mind that many contributions are singularly distinguished by their seamless integration with the story, not calling attention to themselves and thereby escaping attention.
- Dorian Scott Cole
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