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Owen Lift (Danny DeVito) a man in his 40s, whom lives with his abusive mother (Anne Ramsey) attends a creative writing class. Larry's teacher Professor Larry Donner (Billy Crystal) dislikes the short story, a murder mystery which Owen has written for class, because the murder in the story has no motive and Larry gives Owen advice on motives and alibis, to help Owen with writing a murder mystery story. After going to see the classic Alfred Hitchcock film "Strangers on a Train". Owen follows Larry's snobbish Ex wife Margaret (Kate Mulgrew), whom cruelly stole Larry's book "Hot Fire" which she received acclaim and has gotten rich over it and Owen calls Larry on the telephone claiming that he has murdered Margaret and that he misunderstood Larry's advice and in return, Owen wants Larry to murder his mother, because she makes his life a misery and he cannot bring himself to kill her. As Detective DeBenedetto (Bruce Kirby) begins investigating Margaret's disappearance and is looking for Larry, for questioning. Larry hiding in Owen's house, evading the authorities, reluctantly agrees to kill Owen's mother, as it was supposed to be deal and Larry soon finds Owen's mother is one tough woman to kill and is pressured by Owen to fulfil his part of the deal.
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