5.1/10
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26 user 11 critic

Burglar (1987)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 20 March 1987 (USA)
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A retired cop blackmails ex burglar Bernice into paying him $20,000 - thus burgling. Paid to get a dentist's jewelry back from her ex's apartment, someone murders the ex and Bernice is a suspect. She investigates.

Director:

Hugh Wilson

Writers:

Lawrence Block (novels), Jeph Loeb (screenplay) (as Joseph Loeb III) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Whoopi Goldberg ... Bernice Rhodenbarr
Bobcat Goldthwait ... Carl Hefler
G.W. Bailey ... Ray Kirschman
Lesley Ann Warren ... Dr. Cynthia Sheldrake
James Handy ... Carson Verrill
Anne De Salvo ... Detective Todras (as Anne DeSalvo)
John Goodman ... Detective Nyswander
Elizabeth Ruscio ... Frankie
Vyto Ruginis ... K.E. Graybow
Larry Mintz Larry Mintz ... Vincent 'Knobby' DiCarno
Raye Birk ... The Jogger
Eric Poppick ... Deliveryman
Scott Lincoln ... Man in Cadillac
Thom Bray ... Shoplifter in Bookstore
Nathan Davis ... Mr. Paggif
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Storyline

Bernice "Bernie" Rhodenbarr is a burglar by trade, and she runs a bookstore as well. Her friend Carl Hefler is a dog groomer. After a successful burglary, it's discovered that a dead body was in the house she burgled. As she's the only one who can be placed at the scene of the crime, she has to use her criminal skills to clear her name of the murder AND avoid getting charged with the burglary. Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A first rate comedy about a second story woman.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 March 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burglar - Die diebische Elster See more »

Filming Locations:

Belvedere, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$16,337,355
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nelvana, Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While loosely based on the Burglar novels by Lawrence Block, two of the principal characters underwent major changes: Bernard "Bernie" Rhodenbarr, a white male bookstore owner/burglar, became Bernice "Bernie" Rhodenbarr as played by Whoopi Goldberg; lesbian dog groomer Carolyn Kaiser, Bernie's best friend, became straight dog groomer Carl Heller and was portrayed by Bobcat Goldthwait. See more »

Goofs

In the scene when She enters the apartment three cigarette tab ends can be seen in the ash tray yet after she breaks out the closet and surveys the room only two are shown. See more »

Quotes

Bartender at Parker's on Fifth: That guy got more ass than a toilet seat!
Bernice Bernie Rhodenbarr: Ya know, that is beautiful.
See more »


Soundtracks

Tough Guys
Performed by The Jets
Written by The Distance, Tom Kelly and
Produced by Bernard Edwards
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Poor film that was dated even when it was made and has so few good lines it hurts
29 June 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Bernice Rhodenbarr is a cat burglar and used book shop owner. When an ex-cop comes to her with a threat to hand in evidence that he withheld years ago that would incriminate her, she is forced to do a job for him. She agrees to steal a woman's jewellery back from her ex-husband after a messy split. She carries out the crime but is interrupted and has to hide. When she comes out of hiding she finds the man dead and her bag of jewels gone. In order to clear herself she must find out who would want the man dead before the cops can get to her.

There was a time in Whoopi Goldberg's career where they constantly tired to use her smart mouth and streetwise appearance to make her into a female Eddie Murphy. This film appears to be another attempt to use her streetwise wit to good effect. The plot is some form of murder mystery with Bernie being framed and hunted by the police while she tries to catch the real killer. It's nothing we haven't seen before but it's just not very well done here. I struggled to care about the people that Bernie was chasing because I didn't know who they were – partly because the film didn't really explain as most of them are red herrings in preparation for the `twist' at the end.

In terms of tension the film is lacking and as a result I never really got into it. On top of this it's main selling point, the smart comedy, is seriously missing. There was one maybe two good lines in it and none of those was delivered by Whoopi. In fact you could be mistaken for thinking this film wasn't a comedy as there are so very few laughs in it. The whole thing feels very dated – I imagine that even when it was released in the cinema people must have looked at it and gone `whoa, that's soooo eighties'!

Whoopi is poorly used and is sold short by a very ordinary script, but she does have a good support cast to help her out. Sadly they are all sold short as well. Goldthwait is the only one who is allowed to do anything amusing, Goodman, Warren, Bailey, and Handy are all pretty much window dressing so badly are they used.

Overall this film is one from a series of films aiming for the same effect (see Fatal Beauty, Jumpin Jack Flash etc) but here the film totally fails to make good on any of it's assets. The plot is boring and overly convoluted given that we all know it'll turn out to be the least likely main character in the film, and the comedy (usually OK in even average Whoopi films like this) is AWOL. A pretty horrid way to waste 90 minutes – unrelentingly dull.


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