Release Date: July 13, 1990
Runtime: Approximately 90 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers
Director: Bill Murray & Howard Franklin
Producer: Bill Murray & Robert Greenhut
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Dressed as a clown, Grimm, the trio's leader, walks into a bank and calmly robs it of one million dollars. He takes a group of people hostage which, unbeknownst to them and the police who have surrounded the building, includes his two accomplices, Phyllis and Loomis. Making a quick change of clothing, Grimm glides out with his cohorts, dupes Chief-of-Police Ratzinger and slips away.
However, reaching Kennedy Airport is the hard part. Getting no help from deranged, shouting New Yorkers, they attempt to look for a familiar street, but, one mishap after another occurs, including an encounter with warring ethnic families jousting on bicycles as if they were knights.
While Grimm tosses out barbs and quips about the ruthlessness of living in New York City, the film humorously portrays what it is like to be mired down in New York every day. Police chief Ratzinger imagines the felons to be "shouting with glee," when, in fact, they are shouting for a taxi.
With the police on their trail, Grimm, Phyllis and Loomis stumble upon a vice operation, but Grimm bluffs their way out. The ending is particularly clever.
This film is funny, especially when it uses Bill Murray's famous if-looks-could-kill expression to poke fun at dawdling ladies in long checkout lines, or bus drivers who demand exact change. Not being a Bill Murray fan, I didn't want to enjoy the humor, but did.
Furthermore, the depth of film and literary references, from A THOUSAND CLOWNS to DON QUIXOTE, is quite impressive since these intellectual reflections are so carefully woven into the fabric of the film that they never intrude on the entertaining action. Moreover, the pacing of the action, due to the precisely plotted jeopardy, holds the audience's attention throughout the film.
Unfortunately, the film upholds the premise that crime does pay if one is cunning enough -- a lie which Christians know to be untrue. Also, to its discredit is an incessant amount of profane, obscene language and an implied promiscuous relationship between Grimm and Phyllis, who want to get married. However, there are positive references to friendship and marriage.
What's wrong with making a comedy without extreme profanity and sexual innuendoes? Apparently that would require too much creativity.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please address your comments to:
Mr. Robert A, Daly
Warner Brothers, Inc.
4000 Warner Blvd
Burbank, CA 91522