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Ruthless People More at IMDbPro »

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Enjoyable 80s Comedy w/ Midler especially good

Author: pc95 from San Diego
2 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ruthless People is one of my more likable 80s comedies. Like some 80s movies it's age shows, particularly with technology scenes. But the humor is well intact thankfully. It's slapstick and sometimes vulgar, but with a decent frame-worked story to go along with it. It has some good chuckles and a couple laugher scenes. The 4 leads are very well cast and especially Midler and Reinhold are good. (spoiler) In before becoming more mainstream is Bill Pullman playing male bimbo/boyfriend in probably the best scene in the movie - the swat team/ransom scene. Other great scenes involve Midler and her captors earlier on and the antics her character pulls. You can generally tell all involved are enjoying themselves and it shows. If you like slapstick with a bit of vulgar (not nearly to today's standards of vulgar btw), you should at least be entertained by this comedy.

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You cannot beat the KMart price, even if it's the Random amount!

Author: The Court Clown from Los Angeles
7 September 2004

I rented this movie because I'm a fan of Danny de Vito, ever since I saw him in "One flew over the cuckoo's nest"; but I never knew what big surprises waited for me there.

It's a crazy movie that involves a rich textile merchant, Sam Stone (who apparently does business with mafia, if we can believe his wife's words), and who wants to kill his wife (whom he married for the sake of his father-in-law's wealth) to get rid of her and marry his mistress, who has other plans. Then there is this loser couple, whose creative idea was stolen by our merchant, and who wants to avenge it by kidnapping Stone's wife! Sadly, though our kidnapper guy claims to be "ruthless" and "desperate" people, he is most unfit to be a kidnapper; he can neither sell speakers to customers in his job place, nor can he kill a spider without remorse. And then there is his wife, who could never stop either feeling guilty over the kidnapping, or making Mrs. Stone feel at home!

But this is not all. Stone's mistress, Carol, has a boyfriend, whom the police wants to shoot because he's "probably the stupidest man in the world" and who can not differentiate a murder from an act of love-making, and thus video-records the rendezvous of the police chief with a hooker.

Danny de Vito, as usual, is natural in his role. Others, such as Judge Reinhold, Helen Slater and Anita Morris also do well. But the star of the movie is Bette Midler,who steals the show. Before watching this movie,I never knew that she acts so well. I especially loved the part, where she describes to her kidnappers how treating her well (thereby bringing her the stuff that they could not afford) would lead to her telling the prosecutors that they treated her humanely, and this would save them from going to the electric chair, or the firing squad. Another nice scene is her being emotionally charged to have been told that she might have lost at least 20 pounds, and her frustration to know that the kidnappers had to keep lowering their price as Sam Stone was not ready to pay either $500,000 or even $50,000. This led to the most famous punchline of the movie, "Am I kidnapped by KMart?"

This is a crazily hilarious movie, and it will make you laugh a lot. It has plenty of insane dialogs.If one is looking for 90 minutes of good laugh, this is a movie to watch.

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Really really funny

Author: iamalunachick ( from The US of A
7 January 2004

Call me simple minded, but I thought this movie was hilarious. The casting was perfect. Full of quotes that will make you chuckle even after the movie has ended. Bill Pulman should have stuck with the dim witted parts. Danny Devito was great, especially with Muffy. Bette Midler, well Ghandi really would have strangled her. I give this movie a 9 out of 10. Worth a rental.

-- What are you doing in here? Mining the carpet with little poodle bombs?

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Take my wife. Please!

Author: Elswet from .: Fiendish Writings in the Dark :.
31 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Barbara Stone (Bette Midler) has been kidnapped, but her husband not only does not care, he violates deadline after deadline in the hopes the hapless kidnappers will kill her for him. But Barbara just is not the "lay down and die" type.

Bette Midler has generated a nice line of comedies containing the "revenge" element. She gets you back, but manages to make it fun for those of us who are watching.

This movie is among the very best of that line. It is cutely witty, heart-warmingly entertaining.

I highly recommend this lovely dark comedy.

It rates an 8.2/10 from...

the Fiend :.

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True Midler classic

Author: trvwatson from london
17 June 2003

My friend advised me to get this movie, and he was not wrong when he said it was hilarious, the one liners were brilliant, and one thing i would like to know is did Bette Midler really lose all that weight in the film, or was it just padding, if it was it was so real looking, Bette went on to be one of the greatest, musical and comedy actresses of our time. This is one of her classics.

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An Excellent Film

Author: somecompany
27 April 2003

My mom used to always talk about this film, saying how good it

was and she wasn't lying. This is an absolute gem of a film. Danny

DeVito and Bette Midler deliver two of the best performances in

their career (They would later re-team for the equally brilliant

'Drowning Mona') and the supporting cast is an excellent mix.

Danny DeVito plays Sam Stone, the spandex mini-skirt king,

whose idea he stole off Ken and Sandy Kessler (Judge Reinhold

and Helen Slater) but they want payback and kidnap his wife

Barbara (Bette Midler) but Sam is actually pleased that the woman

who has made his life a misery is out of the way and doesn't pay

the ransom which leaves the kind hearted kidnappers in a bit of a

rut... and the viewer in a constant hoot of laughter. From the

animated opening and Danny's hilarious impressions of his wife

to the feel good ending, not a bit of film has been wasted. It's truly

a great film with ZAZ directing (fans will know what I mean) and a

great script Dale Launer that features some of the most

memorable characters in recent films. Anita Morris plays the

woman that Sam is having an affair with and Bill Pullman plays her

idiotic boyfriend (He is, no doubt about it, the funniest character in

the movie). So sit back and enjoy the laugh fest that is 'Ruthless


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One of my favorite comedies

6 July 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A very funny and entertaining motion picture. A rare gem of a comedy that has an intricate plotline supported by sharp jokes (SPOILER ALERT!-the best of which is Devito's classic wrong number gag, which comes out of nowhere). The casting is superb, esp. Devito and Midler who dominate every scene. That little side plot with the enthralled cop who makes himself at home is funny too. This film was very popular when it was released and I don't know why it has faded. It has just as much "classic" potential as "Airplane". Who knows?

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A precursor to Seinfeld?

Author: mcguffin-7 from Cleveland, OH
10 February 2002

This was one of the best comedies of the 80's and perhaps all time...if you don't believe me, just give it another look. The plot twists are like something out of a Seinfeld episode (and this pre-dated that by at least 3 years) with twists and turns and laughs aplenty. If you are a comedy screenwriter looking for a good start on how to write a well balanced comedy, you could do a lot worse than to start here...

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One of my Favorite Comedies

Author: mlevans from Oklahoma
10 January 2002

Jim Abrams and Jerry and David Zucker removed any doubts about their ability to create a successful comedy that did not rely on puns, wild sight gags and the other zany mischief of the `Airplane' and `Naked Gun' films, when they came out with `Ruthless People' in 1986.

Although the film DOES have a bit of an ‘80's feel to it, it has certainly aged well. Moving from parody and slapstick, into mainstream comedy, Abrams and Zucker are able to create as many laughs as ever. While `sophisticated comedy' might be pushing it a tad, this was probably among the 1980's top 10 comedies and remains an extremely watchable movie.

Danny DeVito turns in one of the better performances of his career as Sam Stone, women's sportswear mogul and total horse's rear. Of course, DeVito has made a career playing this type of character; as Stone, though, he is truly delightful. Sure, he may be one or two-dimensional, but when he practices crying in the mirror after his wife's kidnapping, then starts laughing or when he covers his face in tears in front of the police, then sneaks a peak between his fingers to see if they are still watching, one can't help being charmed.

The plot is simple, yet complex – or simple, made complex by miscommunication. Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater are Kenny and Sandy Kessler, a gentle young couple, whom Sam cheated out of their live savings and Sandy's idea that made Sam a millionaire. In desperation, they are forced to become kidnappers. The victim is Stone's overweight, bratty wife, Barbara (Bette Midler) and the results are hilarious. Kenny, a stereo salesman, constantly lectures Sandy that they must be `ruthless' and tough. In reality, he finally confesses `I can't even sell retail – and THAT'S legal!' Both turn in charming performances.

Midler may give her best performance, too, as the obnoxious Barbara Stone, whose personality gradually changes as her waistline reduces, during her captivity. Her face is wonderfully expressive throughout. After she is informed that Sam has refused to pay and that her ransom has twice been lowered, she gasps `Let me get this right – I've been MARKED DOWN?' then tearfully wails the signature line of the movie `I've been kidnapped by K-MART!'

Sam Stone, though, has a secret mistress, Carol (Anita Morris) and is planning on killing Barbara. The kidnapping saves him the trouble. He immediately does just the opposite of the Kesslers' instructions and is quite perturbed to keep getting second and third chances at getting his wife back. Carol isn't on the level, either, having an airhead boyfriend (Bill Pullman), whom she gets to film the murder. The boyfriend is too wimpy to watch and doesn't realize he is filming the police chief with a hooker. When Carol anonymously sends a copy to Sam & to the chief, confusion reigns.

The cast is good throughout, including veteran Art Evans in his usual role as a distinguished black cop (like in `Fright Night,' `Mom' and several others). William G. Schilling is great as the befuddled police chief who thinks he is being blackmailed.

This is good, reasonably clean (despite DeVito's mouth) fun and a well-made little movie. The soundtrack is awesome and the Zucker/Abrams team shows it doesn't need anyone to be called `surely' to evoke a laugh. While it's no all-time classic, this is a fine film.

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A comedy classic

Author: Ed Cowell from Cleveland, OH
21 November 2001

RUTHLESS PEOPLE is a work of demented genius. The script is amazing, always hilarious and the cast does a wonderful job bringing the story to life,especially J.E. Freeman,who creates a geniunely frightening character in just a few minutes of screentime. Wild and unpredictable, RUTHLESS PEOPLE remains a genuinely funny film. "I love wrong numbers!"

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