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Wise Guys
USA 1986
Directed by Brian De Palma
Running time 92 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars


Brian De Palma is not a name that you’d associate with comedy and this film provides ample evidence why that is so. Wise Guys could have been a spoof or a parody of the gangster genre but instead De Palma opts for the ridiculous, having his principals Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo mug their way through a familiar scenario of a couple of bumbling henchman, Harry Valentini and Moe Dickstein, who are instructed by their boss (Dan Hedaya) to place a bet on a horse.  Thinking that the horse is bound to lose, the "brains" of the operation Harry comes up with the bright idea of betting on another horse. Of course the first horse wins, the numbskulls are in debt for 250 large and their boss wants them whacked. Hi-jinx ensue

The script by George Gallo (who was better served by Martin Brest in Midnight Run) is potentially amusing but the silly tone simply wears it down. If Danny De Vito is as always watchable, as is Dan Hedaya, Joe Piscopo brings nothing of distinction to the part whilst Captain Lou Albano, a former professional wrestler making his movie debut is simply awful as Frank the Fixer Acavano, a tub of lard blustering his way through the usual ham-fisted pursuit of our two nitwits. There are a couple of chuckles to be had and probably this was serviceable enough as a mad-cap comedy in the mid-1980s but today it looks very lame.

 

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