This is a laid-back comedy which is conceptually very similar
to the early Woody Allen movies, except with Dave Foley playing the Woody role
as the hapless, wimpy schmuck with an inflated view of his own skills. As
the film begins, Dave enters his office one morning, filled with confidence that
he will be named his company's next president. When he hears that the position
is going to a rival named Ken, he protests because he has gone so far as to
become engaged to the chairman's daughter. Turns out that Ken has one-upped him
and is engaged to the chairman's favorite daughter. Dave keeps whining
and the chairman is finally forced to tell him that he's a complete schmuck and
a weakling who could never run a big company, whereupon Dave goes ballistic and
threatens to kill his future father-in-law.
Funny thing about that. A short time later, when Dave marches into the chairman's
office to offer yet another piece of his mind, he finds the big kahuna lying there with a
knife in his neck. Dave tries to pull it out, then realizes that the man is
already dead, while he's standing there with a bloody knife in his hand and his
clothes soaked in blood. Then it dawns on him that this all happened about an hour after he
threatened to kill the guy in front of witnesses. So he runs - out of the office and into a life as a
fugitive, assuming he'll been hunted as a desperate, violent criminal.
Only one problem. The police have access to the company's
24-hour surveillance tapes and know that Dave has nothing to do with the murder.
In fact, the police detective keeps calling Dave "the woman who found the body,"
because the same security tapes show Dave's reaction when he sees the knife, and
he's wailing and shrieking like a 13-year-old girl at a Beatles concert. That's
what the movie is about: Dave's perception of himself as a ruthless, big-time wanted
criminal on the run, as contrasted to the world's perception of him as a
unimportant witness and a complete pussy. In order to make things a bit more
interesting, Dave's flight keeps crossing paths with the real killer, with the
law hot on his trail, and the
screenwriters construct the scenes in such a way that Dave thinks the police are
actually after him.
Pretty funny idea.
I originally popped this in the DVD player with minimal expectations.
After all, I
had never heard of this movie, and it's a ten-year-old Canadian film which took five years to get
to video. For some reason, Disney shelved it completely after having liked it
enough to purchase the distribution rights in the States, so The Wrong Guy never
received any theatrical release in the USA. Given all those facts, I really only watched it for the Jennifer Tilly
nightie scene, which I had seen in still captures.
The Wrong Guy turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
While it may not be a comedy classic, it has some moments of
real inspiration. and I have to say I got a real kick out of it. I guess I'm not
the only one who liked it, because it's rated a very sold 6.9 at IMDb, and that
has been downgraded from a true arithmetic mean of 7.7.
If you liked the offbeat
cable show "The Higgins Boys and Gruber," you may enjoy this since it was
written by the same guy, with Dave Foley as his co-author. It was directed by
David Steinberg, who was one of my favorite comics back in the day. Their film
deserves much more than the total obscurity to which it has been consigned.