Back by Midnight (2004) Poster

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No brain
Heather8 June 2009
Rodney plays a warden of a prison whose funding is very low so that the owner of the prison can pocket the addtional cash that is saved. To get the prison "fixed" he decides to steal the things he needs from the prison owner (played by Randy Quaid).

I see other people have given this movie low ratings...HELLO, this is a Rodney Dangerfield movie! If you don't like Rodney, you won't like this movie. If you like Rodeny, you will like this movie. It is not Academy Award material, but it has enough of Rodney's stand up comedy feel to be entertaining.

Paul Rodriguez is a very funny addition to the cast. A lot of cameos by recognizable stars (including Ron Jeremy...hilarious).
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Rodney is not the main character
benbenbenben27 August 2005
Rodney Dangerfield isn't the main character of this movie. He's barely in it. Most of the screen time is dominated by unfunny jokes. One running gag is that a character is named Jerk Off. There are also lots of erection jokes, where the punch line is someone has an erection. This movie is as funny as Kirstie Ally's British accent is convincing.

This movie started off like a weak action movie: five minutes of back story and then bam! Unfunny jokes. But, aside from the terrible writing, the movie is also poorly directed and the acting is terrible. Also, this movie does the old bad comedy cliché of having lots of well-known B-movie actors. Harland Williams, Gilbert Godfried, Randy Quaid, and Phil La Mar. These are just some of the people that spend more time on the screen than Rodney, even though he's billed as the main character. Don't be surprised to find this movie at a drug store selling for five bucks. Even that is too much.
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A Movie Not Worthy of Any Respect
D_Burke30 January 2010
I've noticed over the years that when a rock star makes his final album before his death, that album, if it's not his best, is usually prolific in some way and worthy of a listen at least. The album is usually good enough to cement a legacy. However, when it comes to comedians, especially mainstream comics who star in their own vehicles, their final movie is usually God awful. John Belushi had "Neighbors", John Candy had "Wagon's East", Chris Farley had "Almost Heroes", Phil Hartman had "Small Soldiers", and Rodney Dangerfield had this movie.

"Back By Midnight", although it may not have been Dangerfield's very last film, is weak in every sense of the word. It wrapped filming in 2002 according to this website, but it was not released on DVD until 2005, the year after Dangerfield died. It's safe to say that it would have stayed on the shelves if Dangerfield was still alive. I have been a big fan of Dangerfield's since I was in my early teens, and it pains me to see how rotten this film was.

What amazes me the most is that a number of other talented people took part in a movie with a very weak premise to begin with. Dangerfield, a great comedian who usually played his comic persona on film, is a prison warden who houses a close knit group of inmates. When the owner of the prison, Colonel-Tom-Parker-meets-Sam-Walton billionaire Eli Rockwood (Randy Quaid), cuts funding for the prison, the warden sends a group of inmates to break out of prison, rob Rockwood's eponymous convenience stores of consumer goods, and break back into prison with the loot. By taking what's in the convenience stores, they are (I guess) taking what they believe Rockwood owes them.

With this flimsy premise, the movie sputters and stalls frequently. On top of that, the jokes that you think would be this movie's salvation are not even close to funny, not even from Mr. No Respect himself. That is incredibly disappointing too, because you'd expect a movie with Oscar-nominated (!!!) Randy Quaid, Kirstie Alley, Gilbert Gottfried, Ed Begley Jr., Yeardley Smith, and others to be at least a little bit funny. Instead, Quaid plays a character we've seen before in countless other comedies, Alley plays a British heiress with an awful British accent (could this movie not afford an actual British person!?!), and every joke was poorly set up and poorly timed by virtually every member of this ensemble. It was just a bad movie.

"Back By Midnight" was rated R mainly for language (and one scene of nudity). The irony in this fact is that many of the jokes are so audience insulting that even kids (if you edit out the language) would walk out of this film. The physical gags are also incredibly predictable, especially when Alley's pet monkey torments Quaid's character. When the monkey grabs a pair of scissors and jumps on Quaid's couch, who wouldn't know where that gag was going?

Being a direct-to-video comedy, of course I didn't expect any Oscar-winning material on here. The truth is, though, Dangerfield has made some great, timeless comedies before. "Easy Money" and "Back To School" are hilarious still, and were definitely not Oscar-worthy in the slightest. However, there's a difference between making a dumb comedy that's funny, and making a dumb comedy. With the latter kind of comedy, it seems like the filmmakers don't even try, which is precisely the case with this lame excuse for a wasted 90 minutes. Rest in Peace, Rodney, but add this film to your batch of forgettable comedies like "Meet Wally Sparks" (1997) and "The Godson" (1999). This film, dare I say it, is not even worth seeing.
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Time capsule example of a 1* film
caa82120 April 2007
Put a DVD of this flick in a time capsule, and it will definitely illustrate for future generations a perfect example of one which warrants the minimal rating on a 1-to-10-star scale.

Bill Cosby and Ray Romano have been at the top - in ratings and with tens of millions in earnings annually - with their television series'. Yet each has had no success in big-screen offerings. This has also been true for other TV personalities - perhaps because many of the stories which are presented for two hours or so seem more suited to either a 10-minute skit, or at most, the 22 or 23 minutes of drama during a half-hour program.

This film, however, doesn't have one single element which would warrant two or three minutes of time on MAD TV, SNL, or anywhere else on a screen or stage.

Its origination date is listed as 2002, but release date - to DVD only - is shown as 2004. It also was filmed not long before Rodney Dangerfield's death, so its one redeeming value is that it probably provided at lease a few hundred thousand more dollars for his heirs.

I'd never heard of it, but found it when turning-on my set, and frankly became fascinated by it. Some movies are so truly awful that they rate a sort of top rating in reverse - so bad that you can move the dial backwards to a 9 or 10. "Plan 9 from Outer Space" is the best example - and the Bruce Jenner/Village People opus, "Can't Stop the Music," is another.

Unfortunately this flick falls short even there. Even if Rodney's earlier work (as well as some of his fellow cast-members') fell short of "Citizen Kane" or "Casablanca," there were many moments of humor and a story providing at least a modicum of interest.

Unfortunately, this presentation doesn't seem to possess even a minute or two's worth of such material.
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Comedy is dead and this is its tombstone
Nick Zbu8 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I must agree with the very first comment: this movie sucks very, very hard. Despite having a very big B-list cast, the cover of this film (for those who aren't watching it on Comedy Central during a weekday which is probably the only exposure this film will ever get) tries to put the blame on Dangerfield but in reality is just a paycheck for every has-been comedian from the '80s. Randy Quaid? Check. Ed Begley, Jr? Check. The voice of Lisa Simpson? She can now say that Maximum Overdrive wasn't her only horrible flick: double check. And so many, many others.

The saddest thing about this flick is that it was so lazily written with already-told jokes. Nothing about this movie outside of its existence is funny. You're better off watching paint dry. This is definitely direct-to-video scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel stuff that still believes in the old video adage: throw an old-time star on the cover and you'll get some money back off of the rental. Considering the days of video rental are changing, consider this one of the last examples of putting out garbage.

The only use this movie has if you're having trouble falling asleep. It'll get you there.
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