Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mr. Nice Guy

(Henry Wolfond, 1987)
Mike MacDonald - never my favourite comic performer - wears particularly thin as a leading man. I hate movies about 'gangsters' even more when they come with romantic subplots, and this movie is painfully anachronistic. But to my astonishment, it's also pretty funny pretty often. While one-time-only director Wolfond has absolutely no cinematic sense, he is capable of making me laugh repeatedly at bad guys falling through windows, and I bet it was Mark Breslin who gave the script its satisfying edge of absurdist displacement. No point in trying to live up to prevailing standards of cinematic artistry when your production values make Lloyd Kaufman look like David O. Selznick, and so the production's candid amateurism frees them up to be purely silly, with perhaps every third scene containing a worthy displacement or two. Too bad the good stuff isn't good enough to help us forget the usual cookie-cutter fag and retard shticks; in a movie whose ace is the element of surprise, such cliches are poison. WKRP's Jan Smithers is nothing to write home about either in a career-ending role. But there's some nice brainless fun to be had here.

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