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 ...
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In WW2, a strategic Italian village agrees to surrender to the Allies only if it's allowed to organize a celebratory festival while giving aerial reconnaissance the false impression of fierce ground fighting.
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
The Beverly Hills mansion was spread over many acres of prime real estate. It seemed as if the sumptuous estate was the house that had everything. When director Blake Edwards looked at it, however, Edwards decided it required another wing that could withstand the action scenes with the SWAT team and the even more destructive Howie Mandel. After the smoke cleared, the owner of the mansion agreed that an extra wing was just what he needed, and had one built to the specifications of the movie set. See more »
After Dennis gets into the car Spence takes from the race track, a patrol car comes by. Spence grows nervous and backs out of his parking space before Dennis can exit the car. As Spence backs out and then switches to drive, the shadow of the camera can be seen on the ground. See more »
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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