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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
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 »
You can't blame Blake Edwards for making this kind of movie.
For years, he depended on the kind of pratfalls that course through "A Fine Mess" as his bread and butter, so to speak. They served the "Pink Panther" series well, and made Inspector Clouseau a world-wide reference point for the ultimate in clumsiness.
But for a movie that basically features two losers crossing the mob in a horse race then moving a piano to a rich lady's house, this film is all over the place. So many people introduced then forgotten, plot lines that go nowhere, laughs that are fun for the moment but have no context.
Shocking, really, this coming as it does from Blake Edwards, who once personified classy comedy with such works as the aforementioned "Panther" films, not to mention classics like "10", "Micki + Maude" and the under-appreciated "S.O.B.".
And with the calibre of talent, you'd expect great things; the manic Mandel, lecherous Danson, luxuriant Alonzo, and wackos like Mulligan and Margolin as mob flunkies all have the fire, but there's just nothing here to stoke the furnace.
There were separate moments here and there that gave me a smile but, like the movie itself, it just lives for the moment, then is gone.
TIDBIT - The idea for this movie actually came from a Laurel and Hardy short where Stan and Ollie try to move a huge piano up innumerable flights of stairs. Hence, the name.
It still is fitting: this movie is definitely a "Mess", if not a "Fine" one.
Three stars. Saved but for the virtue of Mulligan in the cast and a bit part for pre-"NYPD Blue" Franz.
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