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Written by Gloria Sklerov and Lenny Macaluso
Performed by Irene Cara
Produced by George Johnson and Irene Cara
Background Singers: Charlotte Crossley, Daryl Carpenter, David Lasley See more »
Hilarious comedy that deserves to be appreciated more
The prior comments for "The Longshot" are not true. It's not a series of skits strung together. It's a full-fledged comedy film that deserves to be appreciated more than it is. These skilled character actors and actresses bring the plot to life, and it's a plot filled with the pathetic losers who live just on the fringes of prosperity and can never seem to get ahead. To these guys, $100 is big, big money. It's a film about losers and how they never stop trying to become winners, and that's the key to it's appeal.
The film focuses on the characters played by Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Jack Weston and Ted Wass, and boy, are these guys ever grade A losers. They've spent their lives at the local horse track, trying to get that big win, but they never do. They decide to take the advice of a trackhand who says he can make a horse win and bet enough to make a bundle. Because none of them have a dime they try to borrow the money from the track rich lady who has a stable of winning racehorses, and they decide Conway's character should seduce the money out of her because they can tell she's hot for him. This turns out to be the disaster you'd expect, so they are reduced to going to the local syndicate boss to borrow the money. When they find out the trackhand is not on the up and up and they've already place the bet with the borrowed mob money, they panic.
All of these people are amazing; they are losers extraordinare, losers for the ages - the epitome of loserness. Ted Wass, in particular, is so good it's uncanny. He is a man who is so devoid of intellect he can't even figure out what 1/4 of $20 is, but he's such a sweet, sincere, loyal friend that he promises to stand in the way of the gangsters when they come for the rest of his friends. He lives in a 6 foot wide mini-trailer with his fish; he sets up a picture of himself by the fishbowl when he leaves, so the fish isn't lonely. Everything he owns is 11 years old, including the fish. Anne Meara is a trip as Conway's wife, who knows he can't do anything right yet sticks with him with no idea that he will ever get his or her head above water. Joseph Ruskin ably handles the mob boss role and George DiCenzo is great as the mob boss' righthand man. Conway is the shoe salesman who is the nominal leader of the group; his car is a heap, and the driver's side window is broken so he uses cardboard. He doesn't have any more brains than the rest, but he has more confidence and he never stops talking. In this group, that makes him a leader.
In short, this is a quiet comedy film that doesn't go for the belly laughs but gets them anyway. I've seen it a hundred times and it never gets old. Beware, though, of the cut cable version that has been running, and make sure you watch the version put out on VHS or DVD. These different versions may account for the bad reviews, because the version I've seen on A&E is not the theatrical release but a butchered, watered down cut that is very different.
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