Wise Guys (1986)
Metrograph in NYC is showing a Brian De Palma series, showcasing 28 out
of his 29 full length films. Brian De Palma is one of my favorite
directors, having directed 4 films I would rate a 9 out of 10, which
include Carrie, Phantom Of The Paradise, Dressed To Kill and Body
Double. He has many other very good films, including Sisters, Scarface
and Hi Mom. He also has about 14 movies I have not seen yet, so this is
my chance to see as many of them as I can make time for, so expect to
see me reviewing all the ones I have missed or skipped due to
disinterest. Nothing I like more than rounding out the catalogue of
films I have yet to see of a particular director, especially one held in
such high esteem.
Well, it had to happen, I knew I was going to find one movie of Brian De Palma that I hated, and this would be the one. Having now caught 26 out of his 29 movies, I suspect I will not find one I dislike more than this one. Not only is it his worst comedy of the 7 he has done, it is his worst movie overall. Not only does this not come across as a Brian De Palma film, it just fails on almost every level possible. The only good thing I can say is that I thought Captain Lou Albano's performance was way better than I could have expected. Danny DeVito played the same Danny DeVito character he usually does, only he wasn't funny in this. Joe Piscopo is bad as well, though I had no expectations for him to be otherwise. Harvey Keitel plays a throw away role, and the rest of the cast is just sort of there.
It is especially a shame to see this movie just a month or so after seeing the wonderful, yet similar gangster comedy Johnny Dangerously, written by the same guy. I do not know if this is the fault of the cast, the director, or something else, but it is amazing how far apart they are in entertainment value while mining the same area. Joe Piscopo was the weakest part of Johnny Dangerously, but in Wise Guys, he's bad, but not so much worse than everyone else.
The plot follows two low level mob guys who grow up best friends in Newark New Jersey. One is Jewish, the other Italian. Both do not seem too bright, and both get a fair amount of abuse in the movie. When one of them hatches a plan to use the boss' money to gamble on a horse, things do not go too well and now they are wanted men.
I really do not want to go on and on about how bad this was, but you can tell from almost the first seconds, as the opening credits roll, how bad this will be. From the lame opening song, the super lame credit sequence that seems straight out of a bad mid 1980s TV show on an off network, it all just doesn't work. Even the jokes are visible from a mile away, and not funny when they do arrive. I was really shocked at how bad this was.
I do not know why this movie ended up this bad, but all I know is that it will most likely forever be the low point for me in the career of Brian De Palma.
4 out of 10 stars.