*** (out of four)
A Fine Mess (1986)
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*** (out of four)
Not every movie has to have an intricate plot, Oscar caliber performances, and a perfect script to be a noteworthy movie. We have movies like Citizen Kane, The Killing Fields, A Dry White Season, Rain Man ect... for that. The most important aspect of a comedy is whether or not it is genuinely funny, and there's no way one can say that this flick is not.
Just about every scene in the film is funny, physical as well as dialogue. Howie Mandel cracked me up constantly with the strange voices he used. It's vulgar in parts, and sure, the plot is weak. So what. It does it's job. Blake Edwards is a master at comedy. He never leaves me disappointed.
If you're looking for a movie that will leave you with a sore ribcage at the end, this one will do the trick. As comedies go, I'd give it an 8/10.
Wow--is this BAD! I saw it in a theatre in 1986 and remember hating it and being really amazed at how lousy this was. I figured with Ted Danson in it (who was popular from 'Cheers' at the time) it couldn't be bad. Well, I was wrong! He tries but the material is hopeless. Mandel was just annoying. The rest of the cast are just there.
Purportedly Danson shot nude scenes for this movie but they weren't in the final cut. Also there were sequences shot with Danson and Mandel imitating old Laurel and Hardy routines (hence the title) but THOSE were cut too. I heard the studio was horrified by the final result (no shock there) and just released it very quietly and it died a quick deserved death. Easily one of the worst comedies of its time. Just painful. Avoid.
Well, I'm sorry to say, this film cannot be defended on any level, and this comes from someone who will pretty much go to the mat to defend Blake Edwards, because I think he's a great director. But, this film comes from his worst period - where he was making one completely unfunny film after another. This, however, is the nadir of his career. There is not one funny gag (and I cannot say the same about any other Edwards film), not one funny performance, not one patented Edwards great comedy shot, just and endless series of terrible gags, all rehashed from better films, until this thing finally limps to its stupid conclusion. One knows one is in trouble the minute the film begins, when one is assaulted by an insipid rock-and-roll (circa 80s) song instead of a witty or tuneful Mancini score. One knows one is in further trouble when there is not one single note of Mancini music in the film, even though he receives credit for Original Music. The only Mancini piece, save for the title song, is source music for a player piano. Otherwise, we get Blake trying to be hip and using rock songs - well, they not only stink, but they kill the comedy.
I think I'm going to look up what are generally considered the worst films ever made, and my guess is that every single one of them will have at least five people saying it's a misunderstood masterpiece. Of course, what one comes to realize are that these "reviews" are written by people who were kids when they saw the films in question - and when that's the scenario, they love everything they saw as kids. No person with any critical faculties could think A Fine Mess is anything but A Fine Mess.
It was an OK movie, and I enjoyed what I did see, and looking at the actors before they were household names was funny too.
It is a good movie for those of you who wish to just sit back and laugh at good old slapstick, and mindless entertainment.
Ted Danson is always hilarious, and found it quite funny seeing him make himself comfortable behind the bar in the mansion. His character was hilarious as the skirt chasing fool, just as his future character, Sam Malone would be in Cheers!
Cheers to all the actors who have gone on to make better and bigger movies, and shows!
The movie is dull, boring and completely unfunny..I think this was made too early in the careers of Danson and Mandel...made five years later with a better script it would've been much much better..
On a scale of one to ten..0
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.
I think that everything about her is quite sexy. The foxy smile, the seductive voice, the loose dark hair Actually there was enough witchcraft to make a new intercontinental missile which could really set us on fire after we go ballistic !
The second date was at (Moscow on the Hudson), and I just lost for words.. what can I say ? More magic ? Or more feminine ?! She was perfectly breathtaking!
Then, the third meeting was on the run, at (The Running Man). Well, to tell you the truth, that beauty was so violent !
After that we broke up ! As I've never seen her again except for one time; at the photos section of IMDb, that was after 20 years since the last time I've been infatuated by her genuine charm. I wanted just to ask her "Where are you ?".. so the visionary specter would answer rightly "in the movies, baby!"
...I thought that she didn't get the whole chance to be more than her dazzling image as a Latino heat (like Antonio Banderas !), or maybe she didn't have anything more to present, or maybe that was what she wants !
At any rate, I love you Maria Conchita Alonso !
If one believes the Wikipedia article (qv), "A Fine Mess" was originally intended as an altogether different film that, after poor previews and studio interference, ended up as the humorless mess we see here. Edwards supposedly urged people /not/ to see it -- so why did he allow his name to appear above the title, as well as take writing/directing credit?
The script is mostly clichéd expository dialog of the sort screenwriters are warned to avoid like the plague. It's so unengaging it's surprising audiences didn't walk out after the first five minutes. (Perhaps they'd fallen asleep.)
This wasn't Edwards' last film, but nothing that followed was of any distinction. His last good film was "Victor/Victoria". For the rest of his career, he was running on empty.
If you have a chance to see "A Fine Mess", by all means do so. I doubt you'll be able to get past the first 15 minutes, even out of curiosity. If so, let me know.
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.