What You Need To Know:
(L, S) 7 obscenities, 2 profanities and one brief sexual innuendo.
The dialogue is grade A and, for some, the laughs plentiful in OSCAR, a somewhat enjoyable comedy about a 1930s mobster who tries to follow his father’s dying wish and go straight.
Avowing to fulfill his father’s last wish as he lays on his deathbed, notorious gangster/bootlegger Angelo “Snaps” Provolone promises to quit the mob and go straight. Snaps (so called for the way he snaps his fingers when giving orders) soon discovers this is easier said than done.
That is, on the day he is to relinquish his “business” and go legit, his attempts to become an honest banker are complicated by a bunch of cops and rival gangsters who don’t believe he is serious, not to mention a non-stop parade of shysters who confront the well-intentioned Snaps, making it very difficult for him to come clean.
The first of these to descend on Snaps is his accountant, Little Anthony, who has parlayed a clerical error into a small fortune and with it asks for the hand of Snaps’ daughter, Lisa, in marriage. The Lisa whom Little Anthony has in mind, though, is not really Snaps’ daughter, but an imposter. The real Lisa, relegated to her bedroom by an overprotective Snaps, yearns desperately to be out on her own and so concocts a yarn about being pregnant with Oscar the chauffeur’s baby.
The story line, akin to a convoluted soap opera, is intentionally confusing, yet to its credit moves briskly. Like the proverbial marble-under-the-hat-trick, things get increasingly chaotic, what with a case of mistaken identity and switched bags of gems, cash and ladies underwear. The piece de resistance comes in setting all the mayhem to the delightful musical score of “Figaro.”
Still, Snaps holds unwaveringly to “A promise is a promise.” It’s all harmless fun, the characterizations are good and the acting by Sylvester Stallone is much improved over his “Rocky” and “Rambo” days. There is no violence in the action (not even a gun is fired) and, in fact, the carrying of guns is more than once rebuked by Snaps. It could have been an errorless movie if one sexual innuendo and nine instances of obscenity and profanity had been deleted.
OSCAR is the type of movie in which you will either laugh a lot, or not at all. When the police, for instance, try to come up with the mob money they think Snaps is laundering, Snaps remarks: “At least you got the laundry part right.” You decide.