In this not-so-funny comedy, Steve Martin spikes his hair to play Vinnie Antonelli, a mob informant relocated under the Federal Witness Protection Program to a small California community. Rick Moranis plays Barney Coopersmith, the mousy FBI agent assigned to protect and deliver the government witness to testify at two mob trials.
Unfortunately, low profile is simply not part of Vinnie’s vocabulary. Also, despite the best efforts of the lackluster Barney, Vinnie just can’t seem to go straight. Hannah, the female assistant district attorney who picks up Vinnie for grand theft auto and credit card fraud, wants him to go straight — to jail.
Barney warns Vinnie that his antics will discredit him, but, because he isn’t trained to do anything else, he refuses to listen. In fact, when Vinnie meets up with a dozen of his old gangster acquaintances, all of whom are now in the witness-protection program, they unite to re-embark on their former careers.
Flying to New York to testify, Vinnie introduces Barney to drinking, dancing and girls. Returning West, a new Barney emerges (he serves drinks to nuns and tells dirty jokes). Utilizing his newly acquired Vinnie-techniques, Barney begins romancing Hannah. Vinnie, meanwhile, marries a sleazy bimbo and thus becomes a bigamist.
Still on her mission to get Vinnie behind bars, Hannah arrests Vinnie, but a shoot-out at his arraignment sends everyone scattering (the smartest are those who head for the theater exits).
Frankly, the character that Steve Martin plays of a moron with a grammar school mentality does not hold the attention of the viewer. His lame-brain excuses to cover up his criminal activity simply are not funny, or amusing, and wear thin a few scenes into the film. There is, however, one funny scene that lampoons Italian reunions.
Although the film is obviously not intended to be a message picture, it does strive to make a few points about the Federal Witness Relocation Program. According to screenwriter Nora Ephron, “One of the myths of the relocation program is that you get your check forever — the government takes care of you. It isn’t true,” she says. “They plunk these guys down in the middle of white-bread America when these guys are completely ethnic creatures, and they’re miserably unhappy.”
Because they’re not trained to do anything else, another question the film raises is what if all these informants got together to start their own crime wave (which is exactly what happens in the picture). A final criticism is leveled at the Program’s policy to overlook crimes that would keep offenders from doing their part in testifying.
Thus, the film shows some fallacies of the Program, but of more immediate concern to Christians would be the question of why the script writer included obscene language, a dirty sex joke and a couple of crude innuendoes. Although bigamy is labeled as wrong, adultery is not. MY BLUE HEAVEN is very disappointing.
Some obscenities; sexual and crude innuendos; implied adultery and bigamy; and, theft and mock violence