Penn & Teller enjoy playing jokes on each other. When Penn says on an interview show that he wishes he has someone threatening his life so that he "wouldn't sweat the small stuff," each of ... See full summary »
After incurring the wrath of the mob, a comic flees Detroit for Chicago taking the name "Mickey One." As he returns to the stage and becomes successful, he fears that the mob will track him... See full summary »
After seven years in boarding school, Morgan Stewart is finally coming home. He discovers it's not the same happy home it used to be, so he decides to reform his social climbing, ... See full summary »
After a long absence, artist Margaret Church returns to her aging parent's home to finish a portrait of them. Her parents, Gardner and Fanny Church, unbeknownst to Margaret have sold the ... See full summary »
A very successful stock broker is called to court to testify against a mob boss who was into some inside trading. They hide him because of death threats. He gets caught in a gun battle and ... See full summary »
Private detective and former football player Harry Moseby gets hired on to what seems a standard missing person case, as a former Hollywood actress whose only major roles came thanks to ... See full summary »
Penn & Teller enjoy playing jokes on each other. When Penn says on an interview show that he wishes he has someone threatening his life so that he "wouldn't sweat the small stuff," each of them begins a series of pranks on the other to suggest a real threat. Then they find that a real psychopath is interested in them. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The elderly man and woman seated at a table on the right side of the screen during Penn and "Carlotta's" conversation in the Mexican restaurant were Penn's real-life parents, Sam and Valda Jillette. See more »
When Penn, Teller, and Carlotta park and Teller replaces the magnetic sign he only changes one side when earlier we see there is a magnetic sign on the other side also. Why dosen't Teller change the other side too? See more »
[narrating from beyond the grave as the camera pulls back]
Oh, yeah. We're dead and there's no way out. I mean, it couldn't be a gag, it couldn't be a joke. We're not gonna have one of the characters wake up from a bad dream; you'd hate us for that! I mean the movie is called 'Penn & Teller Get Killed.' We HAD to get killed at the end, there's no way out of that. We were married to that ending from the moment we thought of the title, and now we've actually killed off ...
[...] See more »
To hide the fact that Caitlin Clarke played a dual role, she was also credited under the pseudonym 'Celia McGuire.' The closing credits reveal the pseudonym with the consecutive credits: Officer McNamara...Celia McGuire Celia McGuire...Caitlin Clarke See more »
Works as an introduction and a terrific gift for fans
It's difficult to review and discuss Penn & Teller Get Killed as a typical comedy because, much like the duo it is profiling, the film attempts to subvert convention and defy the ordinary and is hard to judge on the basis of typical cinema. The film plays by its own rules, operates under the logic of illusionists, and provides the viewer with eight-nine minutes of unpredictability and ridiculousness.
We open on the set of a talk show, with magicians Penn Jillette and his silent-partner Teller hanging upside down in mid-air. The cameras themselves are upside, showing Penn and Teller allegedly sitting behind a desk on set right side up. Penn and Teller do a few levitation tricks in front of a studio audience, who obviously know the trick, and encourage them to respond enthusiastically when Penn asks, "are we live?" to assure the audiences at home that there is no camera trickery.
This is one of the many tricks Penn and Teller perform in the film, but this film isn't just a showcase for their tricks. When the gag is up, the two are interviewed on the talk show where Penn says he wishes somebody would try and kill him. What unfolds is Penn, his girlfriend Carlotta (Caitlin Clarke), and Teller going about their day-to-day lives filled with trickery and nonsense.
As stated, this is a tricky film to summarize. At times it feels more of a showcase for the duo's talents rather than a film and, mainly during its third act, it feels like a film more than a showcase. One of the issues is director Arthur Penn has a difficult time communicating the direction of the picture to the audience, and, to be fair, I think even the greatest cinematic auteur would find it a considerable challenge to do what Penn & Teller Get Killed sets out to do and do it without any reservations or confusion. The film is a satirical black comedy, and because of this, I think it has an inherently difficult time communicating itself because it would appear that it wants to make its motivations clear to the audience, which I can also understand. The film is a cult film, but makes the right move of trying to communicate itself on all levels. This way, there's none of that "singling out" process I see with some more mainstream cult films; ones that seem to try and pick and choose their audiences without giving everyone the ability to like the end product. Ironically, the fact that it struggles to make itself universally appealing is ultimately a large strength on its part.
I'm also a big fan of Penn and Teller in general, which can only help my positive feelings for this film. Their style of skeptic humor, illusionist humor, and logical discussion (used effectively on their Showtime show Penn & Teller: Bullshit!) has kept me a constant viewer of their work. It wasn't until I watched Penn & Teller Get Killed that I knew depressingly little about their stage magic and the work that they do as a duo in live shows. The film has the ability to provide you with a nice introduction to their work along with being a welcomed present for already self-aware fans.
Starring: Penn Jillette, Teller, and Caitlin Clarke. Directed by: Arthur Penn.
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