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Married to the Mob (1988)


7/10: A 1980s Stylistic Chameleon of Glitz, Grit, Creativity and Stale Cliché
Monday, September 28, 2009

The only problem with Married to the Mob is that it is not funny. It dresses up exactly like a romantic comedy, but almost nothing that happens is funny. But if you can look at it as a film where almost nothing funny happens, then you'll have a really good time. It's a glitzy mob film, too, as per the title. Extremely glitzy. But the director, Jonathan Demme, is one of the few prevailing cult directors who fully and completely embraced the 1980s in his work from that decade rather than understandably pretending it was still the 1970s.The opening credits combine 1980s animation, Italian-Americanism and mise-en-scene lathered on top of each other at once. From there, despite 1980sness, it feels about right. The lighting by Demme's frequent cinematographer Tak Fujimoto and jukebox soundtrack rife with widely varying pop and alternative jams are gaudy and that is indeed controlled and nuanced as part of...

7/10: a nutty little screwball comedy, a high point for the actors mostly
Sunday, April 11, 2010

A movie sometimes, actually, most of the time, needs a nudge in the right casting direction. For Married to the Mob, we have Michelle Pfeiffer and Dean Stockwell in two big roles, and others for Matthew Modine and Mercedes Ruehl to sink their teeth into, too. Each actor takes over the role in his or her own way, and makes these characters into well-rounded people. The key for Jonathan Demme is this: people. They're not simply cartoon figures in a farce, but like in a good ol' screwball comedy from the days of Cary Grant, we got a premise and story that begs for actors who are so smart that they can get playing dumb, or just off-kilter or a little deranged. When we see Pfeiffer here, we believe that she's at a crossroads in her life, and she doesn't play it for laughs. Instead, she lets others around her go more over the top...

7/10: Successful Comedy Thriller
Friday, July 3, 2009

This isn't bad, considering. That is, considering that it's still ANOTHER comedy thriller about the Mafia. The men lust after each other's wives and girl friends, drive monstrous cars, wear splashy suits and two-toned shoes, are dutifully sad at the funerals of their own victims, have mothers who bawl over them, pack pistols, move everywhere in squads, and are haunted by the FBI. The women are friendly but keep a wary eye on their men. They wear their hair in curly fright wigs, sport rings with stones the size of Plymouth rock, are covered in bangles, and visit the beauty salons daily. Everybody speaks with a working-class New York accent. When, if ever, will this genre run out of steam? When will it dwindle to a palpitating point and vanish for another generation? Alec Baldwin is doing Dean Stockwell's girl friend and when Stockwell finds out he disposes of Baldwin in a spritzbad. Stockwell...

8/10: Still on my list of all-time favorites, after all these years
Wednesday, September 15, 2004

This is a fun movie with subtle intention. Its off-beat comedy is hilarious to me, unfunny to my friends. The soundtrack is perfect.I own this on VHS and I have watched it many, many times, because it's simply a fun and funny love story with great performances by all the principals (though using Joan Cusack solely as a perch for big hair was a waste of her talent. I know, I know, she was still young...).On a sad note, I decided to check out the DVD last night (instead of watching my VHS tape), and was SHOCKED to find many crucial scenes cut. And on the copy I watched, there was no special feature of deleted scenes: it was as if the deleted scenes never existed!! I am so glad I bought the used VHS at a flea market.It is clear there was a great deal of choreography in this, which is another reason I...

7/10: The Italian Perspective
Saturday, October 29, 2005

First, don't be fooled by my family name. My mother was full blooded Italian, so I really know Italian families, and I LOVE mobster movies, even the funny ones like this.For those people who have bad rapped this film (you know who you are) you should have your movie privileges taken from you because you don't know what good is. This is a damn funny and well-styled film. The fact that almost nobody is Italian in it is part of the joke, so far as I can see. And what red-blooded straight male could complain about spending an hour and something with the likes of Michelle Pfieffer? Puh-lease! When I saw this film it won me over with the opening song by Rosemary Clooney who was as Irish as one can get, but her pronunciation of the Italian words in "Mambo Italiano" is flawless and sets the tone of what is to follow perfectly...

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