Mad Dog and Glory
(1993) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
A shy policeman (Robert DeNiro) who specializes in crime scene analysis accidentally
stumbles upon a convenience store robbery, and in so doing he saves
the life of a big-time loan shark (Bill Murray). The mobster is
grateful, so he offers the timid cop a major thank-you gift: a
gorgeous female slave (Uma Thurman) for a week. She has to go
because of a deal she made to save her brother. The cop doesn't want
her, but she doesn't want to leave because she fears retribution from
the mobster if she fails to please. So, the cop lets her stay, falls
in love with her, and ends up having to confront the mobster when the
week is up and the racketeer wants his loan back.
|The plot is really a minor element in the
film, which concentrates on in-depth character development, blended with
comedy. DeNiro and Thurman do a terrific job as the lovers, and Bill
Murray is suitably quirky as the mobster. Years before The Sopranos or
Analyze This, Murray was working on the concept of a complex, neurotic
gangster who occasionally does good things on the advice of his shrink,
and who works out some of his aggression and need for attention by
performing in Comedy Clubs.
Uma Thurman shows a breast in a sex scene with
The character development is interesting in this film,
even down to the secondary roles, and I liked that a lot, but the
comedy pretty much flops. Even Murray, who has been about as funny as
anyone in the history of films, really doesn't get more than an
occasional wry smile out of the audience. The character constrained
him. Because of the dramatic requirements of the film, Murray could
not ad-lib and just be Bill Murray. He had to deliver scripted lines
in character, and the writing just wasn't that witty.
By the way, the film was produced by Martin Scorcese.
I don't know exactly what happened to director John
McNaughton. His Wild Things, which allows Bill Murray to be much
funnier, albeit in a far smaller role, is one of my favorite guilty
pleasures. Mad Dog and Glory is a pretty good light watch.
McNaughton's last two films, however, are a documentary about a
painter, and an unreleased film called Speaking of Sex, which also
features Murray in a small role. (Well, I guess it is released now.
First shown about a year ago at the Chicago Film Festival, it opened
two weeks ago - in Greece!)
- with their dollars: it grossed $11
million in the USA
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description,
C. Sporadically entertaining, moving uneasily
from character study to comedy.
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