Married to the Mob (1988) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

While this is not a very funny comedy, it is kinda high-style and charming. It has top-notch production values, big names in the cast, and another big name behind the camera.  

Unfortunately, the material isn't very fresh, and a lot of the characterizations came from the Larry Storch school of comedy, which teaches its pupils how to make very silly faces and hit people over the head with their hats. Both Skipper and Gilligan studied there. Matthew Modine and Mercedes Ruehl turned in especially unsubtle slapstick performances, and Jonathan Demme ... 

Well, Demme is a good director, but there wasn't that much to work with.

In fact, Demme used to do screwball comedies, but has obviously turned in another direction in the intervening decade since this film. Did you get a lot of good chuckles out of Demme's other recent films - Philadelphia, Beloved, and Silence of the Lambs? If so, I can honestly say that this film is funnier than those three. 


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But there are some redeeming moments:

  • there is a lounge piano singer who improvises laid-back mob songs when the mob boss strolls into his favorite restaurant. This was the only time in the movie that I actually cracked up. "Hey, he's Tony, Tony the Tiger, he's such a tiger. Thank you, thank you very much."
  • there is a running gag about the mob guys stopping for fast food instead of eating at Italian restaurants all the time
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, while cast against type, wasn't bad at all in a role obviously written with someone like Fran Drescher in mind (big hair, beautician, Joisey accent). You probably have heard that Demme originally wanted Pfeiffer for the lead in Silence of the Lambs because he was impressed with her from the past. This movie was the past he was impressed with. 
  • Nancy Travis looked absolutely great in a nude scene (clear shots of breasts and buns), and in facial close-ups as well

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Adequate transfer, although not as sharp as I hoped.

  • no meaningful features

Dean Stockwell played Tony "the Tiger" Russo, head of the Sweetened Breakfast Mob, and his capos included:
  • "Sugar Pops" Pete Petraglia
  • Kuku "for Cocoa Puffs" Cucucchia
  • Trix "Rabbit" Triccinnocchi
  • Benny Fruit Loops
  • Vito "Captain Crunch" Cronchatelli
  • Kid Chirios

Needless to say, they are all "serial" killers

Oops, I guess I imagined all that. Well, he was named "Tony the Tiger". 

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.1, Apollo users 38/100. 
  • With their dollars ... it grossed $21 million domestically 
IMDb 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 is.

My own 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, this film is a C.

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