Two friends an actor and a chef discover a plot to fix a horse race and try to capitalize on it. But also have to deal with the two men who fixed it who are trying to silence them. And ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Spence Holden
Dennis Powell
Wayne 'Turnip' Parragella
Maurice 'Binky' Drundza
Claudia Pazzo
Jennifer Edwards ...
Ellen Frankenthaler
Tony Pazzo
Ed Herlihy ...
TV Reporter
Walter Charles ...
Leading Lady
Emma Walton ...
First Extra
Carrie Leigh ...
Second Extra
Sharan Lea ...
Young Girl


Two friends an actor and a chef discover a plot to fix a horse race and try to capitalize on it. But also have to deal with the two men who fixed it who are trying to silence them. And there's also the mob boss whom the two guys work for who planned the fixing thing whose wife is having an affair with the actor. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 August 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blake Edwards' A Fine Mess  »

Box Office


$6,029,824 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The scenes when Claudia Pazzo arrives at the apartment to buy the piano and when she and Spence are filming a movie are the only times in the movie when Maria Conchita Alonso is shown fully dressed. See more »


When the thugs chase Spence and Dennis away from the race track in their car, they wind up crashing into a vending table full of stuffed toys. Part of the crash can be seen from inside the car. In the exterior shot that follows, the camera used for the interior shot can be seen in the back seat of the car. See more »


Wayne 'Turnip' Parragella: It's a real Art Deco!
Tony Pazzo: Never heard of the bum!
See more »


References Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966) See more »


Slow Down
Written by Larry Williams
Produced by Peter Bunetta and Rick Chudacoff for Ripe Productions
Performed by Billy Vera and The Beaters
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User Reviews

They got the "mess" part of the title right.
24 November 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Give him credit, filmmaker Blake Edwards was still trying to create the kind of frantic farce and slapstick that had served him so well in such features as the "Pink Panther" series. The trouble is, his material this time is weak, and simply not funny too much of the time (at least, in this viewers' humble opinion). It's not that the cast doesn't try to create that madcap feel. They really give this dud better performances than it deserves.

Ted Danson is typically amusing in a very Sam Malone-type part, as an insatiable struggling actor named Spence. He overhears a plot to fix a horse race by drugging one of the animals, and tries to capitalize on this knowledge. Unfortunately, the mob finds out that he knows, and utterly brainless goons 'Turnip' (Richard Mulligan) and 'Binky' (Stuart Margolin) spend the balance of the movie trying to silence them, with spectacular lack of success. Meanwhile, Spences' buddy Dennis (Howie Mandel), a carhop with aspirations of being a chef, inadvertently purchases a player piano at an auction, only for a super sexy lady named Claudia (smoldering Maria Conchita Alonso) - whose identity is not hard to figure out - to buy it from him.

Edwards, who also gives his actress daughter Jennifer a key role as auction house employee Ellen, does give "A Fine Mess" energy to spare. The audience will note how quickly it moves along. And the stunts certainly are impressive. Some familiar faces in the supporting cast help matters a little. Paul Sorvino doesn't exactly stretch himself as the head mafioso. Mulligan and Margolin, especially Mulligan, mug for the camera like crazy. Also appearing are Rick Ducommun, Keye Luke (whose role is really much too small), Tawny Moyer, Rick Overton, Teddy Wilson, Larry Storch, Frederick Coffin, Vic Polizos, James Cromwell, and Dennis Franz. But as hard as these actors try, the laughs just aren't there most of the time.

At the least, it's enjoyable to see Danson looking like he's having the time of his life.

Four out of 10.

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