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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
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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