Monday, March 22, 2010

Once Upon a Crime

By Comedy Legend Alan Trehern

This movie was really excellent. And although I was satisfied with the ending, it had me wanting more and more. Well, actually, I wanted more and more of Cybill Shepherd and Sean Young. Meooowwww!! Regardless, this "who-dunnit" is up there with the like of Clue and any Mel Brooks film. The same simple humor mixed with intrigue and a cast of bumbling but laughable characters makes this movie a comedy classic.


Once Upon a Crime
(1992)

Directed by Eugene Levy (The Same!)

Starring a Whole Cast of Famous People. Well, kinda famous.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/1a/Once_upon_a_crime.jpg
The story is a simple crime scenario: someone has been killed, but the evidence leads the cops to these different characters whose paths just happen to cross by chance. The only thing that keeps them as suspects is their innate reaction to lie to the cops and cover their stories. There could not be a better setting for this movie than Monte Carlo. You have the gambling, the snobby rich elite and of course, the French. They're about as bumbling as the Americans. Despite Eugene Levy's fiascoes with the American Pie franchise, I suppose he had some credibility at the time to get directing rights to this movie, and I cannot keep myself from saying that he did a damn fine job.
Characters
Phoebe (Sean Young) is the first character we interact with, and she manages to find a Dachshund with a reward for its safe return. She meets Julian (Richard Lewis) who teams up with her because that's how the story works, don't bother me with details! On the train to Monte Carlo, they meet Augie Morosco (John Candy), a recovering gambler. However, Augie ends up falling off the wagon (or gets back on the wagon?) by gambling his life away with chauvinistic moron Neil Schwary (Jim Belushi). Thankfully, Neil's nottie-turned-hottie wife Marilyn (Cybill Shepherd) finally gains the marital powers over Neil and verbally and physically abuses him for the remainder of the movie.


There are so many positives in this movie that it would be a real shame for me to tell you all of them now without you experiencing them for yourself. I really got a kick out of this movie because I recognize most of the actors and seeing them all interact in this film was quite a highlight. Belushi was still coming down from his high as
Mr. Destiny (what, you've never seen that movie?) and John Candy succeeded in playing his usual type-cast role as a comical fat man (interestingly, the best serious performance I've ever seen Candy in was Planes, Trains & Automobiles. Hughes really did write a good story there.)

The funniest parts are just slight nuances that only the attentive viewer will see. Although the overacting is prevalent, I feel like it adds to the characters and the script, hearkening back to mystery films of cinema's golden age; or maybe I'm thinking French movies, I don't know. It had all the elements of a serious 1940s mystery movie, except with these graceless American tourists as unintentional suspects.
Final Thoughts
Out of all the movies I have reviewed thus far during
March Movie Madness, this one makes my top three favorite. It had everything I wanted in my movie going experience: simplicity, good laughs, hot chicks, mystery, George Hamilton and a successful ending. Like I said in my introduction, if you like Mel Brooks movies (he didn't have anything to do with this movie, mind you, it just felt like a Brooks' film) or other films in the comedic-mystery genre, I would say BUY THIS DVD! You will not regret it. As for me, I'm going to start sending fan mail to 20-year-old Cybill Shepherd, I hear she really knows how to trip the light fantastic.

Notes:
For some reason, based on my interest in this movie, IMDB.com suggests I take a gander at Tourist Trap. **scratches chin thoughtfully** Done.

1 comment:

Ben Pearson said...

Sounds like a funny version of "Murder on the Orient Express." I'll have to check this out at some point.