Suffering Bastards (1989)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  30 November 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 53 users  
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Two brothers try to buy back the nightclub that was stolen from their mother.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Buddy Johnson
Al Johnson
Mr. Leech
Pam La Testa ...
Mrs. Johnson
Eloise Marion ...
Rosemarie DiSalvo ...
Slice (as Ro DiSalvo)
Mavis Harris ...
Joe Duley ...
Sal Dupree ...


Buddy Johnson recounts the story of his life to a lovely woman who comes into his bar: how he and his brother Al were groomed for show business (lounge singing) from an early age by their mother, how her Atlantic City bar was swindled from her, and how they managed to steal three hundred thousand dollars from a cheap hood. Is it fact? Is it fiction? Or does he just want to get into her pants? Written by Gary Dickerson <>

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Release Date:

30 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Liars Club  »

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User Reviews

Attempt At Comedy Doesn't Take Off As Excess Wins Out Over Drollery.
27 April 2008 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

John C. McGinley plays the lead and contributes to the screenplay for this largely absurd piece, a work that provides a few excellent moments but also an exorbitance of longueurs, resulting in its missing the mark as a genuine comedy despite strong efforts from several cast members. Action opens in a Honolulu bar of the dreariest kind owned and operated by Buddy Johnson (McGinley) whose non-draining sink leads to a service call by an attractive young female plumber (Gina Gershon) and, as means of impressing her, Buddy spins an incident-filled story of his life thus far, with this tale becoming the film's narrative (by way of flashbacks). Buddy and his brother Al (David Warshofsky) were reared by their mother who owned a night spot where (as we view) the siblings performed since they were young boys as the "Johnson Brothers", a singing duo of only mild talent, but after Mrs. Johnson is cheated out of her night club/bar by a con man, Buddy and Al are forced to take employment as warehousemen for a cruel thug, Mr. Leech (Eric Bogosian), who enjoys giving the lads a hard time. He in fact fires them, and after he refuses to give them their final paycheck, the pair sneaks in at night to rifle the company safe, using a combination that Buddy has purloined. Their intention is merely to recover the amount owed to them, but they instead cannot resist stealing $300,000 that is in plain sight, this being some of Leech's illicitly acquired (drug sales) monies, and the fun begins as Leech is determined to recover the stolen cash through use of a vicious henchman who may be simply too persistent for slick Buddy to evade for very long. Al, although consistently yielding place to charismatic Buddy, remains a stalwart companion although his older brother's ostensible ability to hector him into outrageous circumstances is probably somewhat apocryphal as is a good deal of Buddy's tale that he relates to the alluring lady plumber (the working title for the film was LIARS CLUB). In sum, this is a weakly written affair, never becoming a successful whole due to a critical deficiency of comedic dialogue, with the more able players being as a result defeated by an untidy script. A skimpy budget is, of course, of no help, nor is wayward post-production editing that needlessly extends episodes of immoderate violence. Watching McGinley work is pleasing, as ever, while Warshofsky impresses with praiseworthy timing. Acting honours here go to Michael Wincott for his excellent turn as a real estate agent who longs for a career as an entertainer.

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