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Actually, two films from the '40s must have served as a guide for the
writers to invent jokes around a couple who buy what they hope will be
their dream house in the country, only to find that everything they
touch has a way of collapsing. The films were MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS
DREAM HOUSE (a sophisticated, witty comedy about all the pitfalls of
country living for city dwellers), and GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE, in
which Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan buy a ramshackle old house which, by
screen magic, they finally succeed in turning into something that
belongs on the cover of "House Beautiful". And the wonderful Percy
Kilbride was so hilarious in his dry monotone voice that Benny and
Sheridan cracked up every time they shared a scene with him.
A combination of those two flicks has been updated to reflect the Yuppie sensibilities of the '80s. At first, the humor here is pretty savvy and the jokes come fast and furious. But then, by the time TOM HANKS has fallen in cement and endured hundreds of pratfalls at the expense of a weak script, we've had enough. It gets to be a one-joke thing, with a couple of sub-plots thrown in as a means to divert the audience before the set-up for the next house joke that drives the film toward its conclusion.
TOM HANKS and SHELLEY LONG are gifted at light comedy and, fortunately, they both have moments to shine as the young couple who put all their money into a house sold to them by MAUREEN STAPLETON. But the jokes wear thin pretty after too many pratfalls and the humor runs out of steam about mid-way through the film.
Treat yourself to either MR. BLANDINGS or GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE for better takes on this sort of thing. And there's something quaint about the real estate prices mentioned in these films at a time when mansions could be bought for $20,000!!
I looked over all the reviews here and so many people just LOVED this
film, it was so FUNNY! What could possibly tie these reviewers
together. Surely the film is too old to have the studio bribe them.
They can't ALL be the writers of this whimsical farce, can they? What
could it be? Then I saw it! They were all kids when The Money Pit was
released. They remember their hand-clapping joy at watching a bathtub
fall through several floors or seeing a staircase collapse. They were
kids and kids love slapstick. Adults used to love slapstick, back when
film was young and Buster Keaton was a genius.
This contrived Hollyweird potboiler is a throwback to the studio contract player days when they had to regularly crank out formulaic drivel for the masses. You know, like TV. What a piece of unwatchable crap. What a star-studded lineup of talent (look at the credits) gone to waste. What a chance to do something better with your time, like scoop out the litter box and wash the kitchen trash pail; something you can actually enjoy doing.
I thought this was a rather good effort at making the worst romantic
comedy ever. Even being used to films treating me like an idiot, I was
mildly surprised by The Money Pit ('Spielberg Presents').
The 'film' presents a beautifully symmetric structure. It is framed by a ludicrous prelude and a preposterous postlude. At the centre stands one- long gag, repeated over and over. Lacking any kind of plot or character development this lovely mindless RomCom is brutally brought to a brutally lovely end by the most painful of narrative clichés.
--- NO MUCH TO SPOIL SPOILER ---
So, here are a little more details if you are curious about Hanks's worst film but have wisely decided not to watch it. If it's surreal fun what you're after, you might be better off going back to Lynch.
The central part of the film is one long gag about a house literally - oh yes so very delightfully literally - falling apart. Hanks's character keeps injuring his spinal cord and getting electrocuted but, alas, he does not die. Eheh, that's funny.
Then, 20 minutes to the end, when I was almost getting used to the total lack of narrative drive, and was learning how to sink deep into my sofa to enjoy the film as mere abstract visual pleasure, something started to happen. It was like - the film-makers suddenly realising that this was meant to be a romantic comedy. So yes, they come up with the twist: She has dinner with her ex-husband and wakes up in her bed! Ah! Her husband tells her they had sex! Ah! She does not remember but believes him! Ah! OBSTACLE to the ROMANCE! Just now that Hanks had learnt how not to get electrocuted. Oh dear. Hanks is hurt, the two split up. But then, 5 minutes to the end... oh well I am not going to spoil this for you... but you're up for a big surprise!
It's amazing that two such talented actors as Shelley Long and Tom
Hanks can produce something that--at its best moments--rises to
mediocrity, but spends most of its time lurking in sheer awfulness.
If you liked Diane Chambers (on Cheers), you will not like this heroine. She is neither intelligent, nor caring, nor committed, in short there is nothing likable about her. We never have a sense of why she hooked up with Tom in the first place, or why she sticks it out through the long ordeal of the re-construction.
There are a number of minor sub-plots, none of which amount to anything and leave you scratching your head at the end, thinking "why was that there?" The transvestites, for instance, what did that contribute? Or Tom's father? Why was he even in this story? On the positive side, there are a few pratfalls and slapstick scenes that will make you chuckle here and there. But it's lost amid the morass of bad writing and predictability.
Richard Benjamin directs this comedy about a young couple and their misery trying to turn a dilapidated house into their dream home. Situational comedy makes up for the flimsy story line. Two young stars on their way up...Tom Hanks and Shelley Long work absolutely great together. Funny script with even funnier one-line rebuttals. Very good support from Joe Mantegna, Philip Bosco and Yakov Smirnoff.
A lemon of a movie..Hanks and Long play a couple who run into every problem imaginable when buying a new house..as the house falls apart so does the relationship..and the movie..Not one of Hanks best and not one of Long's best (which isn't saying much for her) Avoid..you have been warned On a scale of one to ten... 0
Tom Hanks and Shelley Long star in this disappointing comedy as a couple
discover the home of their dreams, then get more than they bargained for
when almost everything they touch gets destroyed. Unpleasant excuse for a
comedy that tries to impress its audience with cheap screwball jokes, but
the jokes here aren't funny. I'm just glad that this movie was made
Hanks became famous, because it's a ridiculous vehicle for him and also
of Steven Spielberg's most forgettable yawners.
1 out of 5
Maltin's right. A good premise, but as the execution becomes progressively more heavy-handed, the humor becomes thinner and thinner. Appears to appeal to the sense of humor of a 10 year old. This one made the exalted ranks of the few movies I have stopped and rewound before finishing, because shortly after ceasing to laugh I ceased to care. A genuine bowser.
Top comedy stars Tom Hanks and Shelley Long play Walter and Anna, a
music industry lawyer and classical musician respectively, who are due
to be kicked out of the apartment they've been using. It belongs to her
ex-husband Max (Alexander Godunov), an egocentric orchestra conductor.
Now they are in desperate need of lodging, and think they've found
their solution when Walters' friend Jack (Josh Mostel) tells them about
a mansion that the owner (Maureen Stapleton) is willing to unload
cheaply. They soon find out the obvious answer: it's because this house
is in TERRIBLE shape, and Walter & Anna have a number of slapstick
misadventures trying to repair and remodel the house.
"The Money Pit" benefits from very engaging lead characters & performances; Hanks and a radiant Long have good chemistry and therefore make a believable couple. It also has great supporting characters & performances, too, from a sleazy carpenter (Joe Mantegna, who walks away with his one big scene), a bratty young pop star (Billy Lombardo), Max (the late Godunov is extremely amusing), and a can-do contractor named Curly (Philip Bosco). Hanks figures in the most gut busting moments, and he does one of the most priceless insane laughs that this viewer has ever heard.
The movie itself, written by co-executive producer David Giler, and directed by actor Richard Benjamin, does manage to be very funny for a while (with a memorable image of Hanks slowly sinking into the floor), until it all gets a little over the top. Predictably, there is a major bump in the road for the Walter / Anna relationship, giving the story a little bit of humanity.
You've already gotten a taste of the character actor talent in this review, but I'll refrain from listing all of the familiar faces in supporting parts and bits so you can discover them for yourself.
Impressive stunts and sight gags help to make this a decent diversion.
Seven out of 10.
"The Money Pit" is an underrated, romantic, slapstick comedy. A young
couple Tom Hanks and Shelley Long are very much in love with each other
and want to buy the home of their dreams. They finally find a large
house going cheap and move in; but it's not long before one hilarious
disaster after another happens. The house is falling apart along with
their bank account and they get deeper and deeper into debt and their
relationship starts to fall apart. There are some really great, very
colorful characters interspersed throughout, resulting in some great
comedy. There's also a lot of slap-stick which even if it's not your
usual cup-of-tea would be hard not to enjoy.
In this movie, the script writer and set technicians are king. These professionals ought to have a showcase for their talents to be spotlighted from time to time, and they sure made the most of the opportunity with this one. The calamitous frailty of this ostensibly beautiful house renders so many brilliantly done scenes that this movie still makes me laugh out loud after seeing it several times. A joke loses all its power to amuse after the surprise of the punch-line is lost, but these sight-gags are so funny I can break out laughing while driving down a lonely highway just thinking about them. Some movies lose their effectiveness because the makers get confused and try to do too may things - the message gets muddled. The best movies exhibit no such confusion and tell their story with minimal distraction. This movie is about this house, and what these artists do with this prop is brilliantly and enduringly funny.
Overall rating: 7 out of 10.
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