Married to the Mob (1988) Poster

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Revisiting the Mob
littlemartinarocena27 August 2009
Time does extraordinary things. It's the ultimate judge. Time has granted "Married To The Mob" an extra doses of freshness. There aren't any dead moments or cheap shots. It's more of a delight now than it ever was. Michelle Pfeiffer creates a mafia widow that it's as far away from a caricature as anything she's ever done. A true original creation touching or hinting at the stereotype just to guide us through but her Angela is quite unique. The legendary Dean Stockwell presents us with a a mafia boss that it's just as menacingly real as he is hilarious. And Matthew Modine? Why did I think back then that he didn't have any chemistry with Pfeiffer? I was wrong. They are wonderful together. They reminded me, this time, to the Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray of "Remember The Night" I'm writing this comment now to entice you to visit or revisit this Jonathan Demme gem.
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Top Ten
drealynnb1 August 2005
I'm surprised with the amount of negative reviews on this film. If you don't like this movie for what it is - a silly, over-the-top, mob story - then you are simply reading too much into it. This film is a classic tale of a mob wife trying to escape "the life" and the troubles that follow her. Michelle Pfeiffer is terrificly 80's 'jersey, who is an uncertain, uncomfortable mob wife while Matthew Modine is an anal retentive-like mob tracking cop who falls for her. The plot is mostly predictable and cutesy and Mercedes Ruel steals the show as the Queen of Mob Wives. If you aren't looking for something too dynamic and complex, this movie is absolutely entertaining and an 80's cult classic. You won't be able to stop watching if you start.
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Great fun!
Snoopymichele23 July 2006
Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine are a joy to watch in this screwball comedy. Alec Baldwin, who was an up and coming star when the film was made, is a hoot. Dean Stockwell, in a sendup of John Gotti, is hysterical. But Mercedes Ruehl, as the paranoid and over the top Connie steals the movie.

Jonathan Demme, previously known for wacky comedies like "Something Wild" and "Melvin and Howard"-proves once again that he is a genius. I was not surprised at all when he went on to win the Oscar for directing "Silence of The Lambs." The performances he evokes from his actors in "Married" are inspired, and the audience is taken along for a wild and wooly ride.

One of the cutest, most endearing films of the 80's, it stands head and shoulders above many of the satires of its era.
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a nutty little screwball comedy, a high point for the actors mostly
Quinoa198411 April 2010
A movie sometimes, actually, most of the time, needs a nudge in the right casting direction. For Married to the Mob, we have Michelle Pfeiffer and Dean Stockwell in two big roles, and others for Matthew Modine and Mercedes Ruehl to sink their teeth into, too. Each actor takes over the role in his or her own way, and makes these characters into well-rounded people. The key for Jonathan Demme is this: people. They're not simply cartoon figures in a farce, but like in a good ol' screwball comedy from the days of Cary Grant, we got a premise and story that begs for actors who are so smart that they can get playing dumb, or just off-kilter or a little deranged. When we see Pfeiffer here, we believe that she's at a crossroads in her life, and she doesn't play it for laughs. Instead, she lets others around her go more over the top. In another story, she would be just as believable as an uncertain widow with a past she'd rather forget.

And yes, Dean Stockwell is here in another gob-smackingly good acting gig (he even got an unlikely supporting actor nod for it). There's something about the guy that is just a little creepy, not really his fault, per-say, except that it's something in his eyes, his mannerisms, the way he'll glance at a character he doesn't trust or has something really to say to. He did this perfectly in his one scene in Blue Velvet, and to a more restrained extent in Tucker The Man & His Dream. Here, however, he goes to town as a mob-boss caricature, but he also doesn't do ALL of the heavy lifting. He is still subtle compared to Ruehl's turn as Russo's wife, who has insane jealousy (and rightfully so, perhaps, if not so far as she goes), and is so over the top that she does her best to chew scenery every which way she can.

So then, with a good premise, and some fine supporting actors (Alec Baldwin has a few decent moments too), what's the problem? I think, perhaps, Demme wasn't always sure how to take the comedy where it needed to go. The script has the characters playing up behavior, which works well when, for example, Modine's "Mike Smith" is caught in a rock and a hard place in going out on a date with Angela. But other set-pieces sort of fall flat, and the ending is unsatisfying (especially irritating is Demme's decision to put in deleted clips from the film in the end credits, his way of doing 'outtakes'). And some of the dialog is over-cooked, making the actors strain to make it credible consistently.

But Married to the Mob is fun within a certain frame of mind. It plays up some clichés like it's going out of style (which is sort of did) and leaves out others, and you may enjoy seeing the actors enjoying themselves in the scenes. It's a lighthearted affair, with touches of appropriate mob violence, and David Byrne of the Talking Heads doing the music!
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One of the funniest films I've ever seen!
LMorland15 April 2002
I had to write this review because the only user comments on file don't begin to do this film justice. For one thing, Michelle Pfeiffer is TERRIFIC in this role -- she demonstrates a marvelous comedic style we don't often get to see. (Maybe the other reviewer prefers her serious work, but I dispute the comment that Pfeiffer has "matured" beyond this role. It's a comedy, for goodness' sake!)

And yes, Alec Baldwin is quite good, but it's Matthew Modine who steals the picture! (He also has much more screen time.) Mercedes Ruehl and Dean Stockwell (as Tony 'The Tiger' Russo) are absolutely delicious. The plot is delightful, and sometimes manages to touch on some more somber issues, as all great comedies do.

In short, I've seen this hilarious film two or three times over the years, and thinking about it now makes me eager to watch it all over again!
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Amusing Mob Comedy
kenjha26 December 2012
A recently widowed mafia wife seeks a fresh start, but must deal with romantic overtures from a mob boss as well as an undercover FBI agent who's tailing her. Pfeiffer is wonderful as the woman who can't escape the mob life. Also good is Stockwell as the mob boss who makes the move on Pfeiffer. Modine, however, is miscast as an FBI agent on the case. The role calls for charm, but Modine is so geeky and awkward that it's hard to believe that Pfeiffer would fall for him. Baldwin, who plays Pfeiffer's husband, would have fared better in the Modine role. The supporting cast features a number of familiar faces. Demme provides the breezy direction.
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Mob-Comedy Classic Always Entertains
ccthemovieman-127 January 2007
This is a consistently funny story with some serious action scenes thrown in here and there. That combination of mob movie and comedy makes this a fun film to watch.l The characters in this movie are just that: characters. Everyone is a little off, actually a little too wacky for any believability. It's just a outrageous story played for laughs with few things making sense or being realistic.

Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine are the stars but Mercedes Ruehl steals the show, in my opinion, as the jealous wife. Dean Stockwell is great as the smooth mob man. Even with all the makeup to make her look cheap, Pfeiffer ("Angela de Marco") still can't hide that fabulous face. The costumes in here are great, too.

This is not family fare with a deserved R-rating for language, violence and some nudity but it's not really a rough movie. It has its charms, that's for sure. Modine plays the nice guy "Mike Downey."

Note: stay with the ending credits, because there is a lot of footage of scenes that never made it to the movie but were very interesting.
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fletch521 January 2002
Michelle Pfeiffer is ideally cast as the frustrated mob widow in this colourful black comedy. Matthew Modine plays a clumsy FBI agent who has taken a fancy to her. Dean Stockwell steals the show as the big shot who keeps on pestering Pfeiffer; Mercedes Ruehl is dynamic as his jealous wife. It's all very eighties, but that just adds to the fun. A nice little flick, though not for every taste.
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Guys! It's not just a silly comedy...
I just wanted to write a quick response to all those people who give this film a bad review because they think it isn't funny or that it's boring.

Here's the trick --- the film is not meant to be just a comedy. It's got some depth to it. Like many Demme films it deals with people living in some of the odd corners of our society who are trying to work out how to put together a fulfilling life for themselves.

Unfortunately, the movie and home video industries don't deal well with subtlety and drop this in the "COMEDY" bin. It IS funny, but a lot of the humor is off-beat. However, the heart of the movie is not about the humor but about the people in it.

It may not be one of the greatest films in the world but it is solid and entertaining.

And the cast is one of those that shows why casting is an art unto itself. Michelle Pfieffer is great and this may be the film that showed she had some acting chops to add to her beauty. Mercedes Ruehl is a big hoot and gets to chew the scenery in the way only she can, in a role which requires it. Throw in Oliver Platt, Joan Cusack in smaller roles and the talented Dean Stockwell ... and even Chris Isaak and you've got a great cast throughout which here, as usual, makes a great difference.

Matthew Modine is fun, but more important, he's a major hottie in this movie. Hot, cute and sexy.

Sit back, expect the unexpected and let the movie take you where it wants to go and you should have a great time.
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Still on my list of all-time favorites, after all these years!
siberryfan15 September 2004
This is a fun movie with subtle intention. Its off-beat comedy is hilarious to me, unfunny to my friends. The soundtrack is perfect.

I own this on VHS and I have watched it many, many times, because it's simply a fun and funny love story with great performances by all the principals (though using Joan Cusack solely as a perch for big hair was a waste of her talent. I know, I know, she was still young...).

On a sad note, I decided to check out the DVD last night (instead of watching my VHS tape), and was SHOCKED to find many crucial scenes cut. And on the copy I watched, there was no special feature of deleted scenes: it was as if the deleted scenes never existed!! I am so glad I bought the used VHS at a flea market.

It is clear there was a great deal of choreography in this, which is another reason I love it so much. It takes great skill, talent, and genius to move around the scenes like Mercedes Ruehl, Dean Stockwell, and Matthew Modine do from scene to scene (Note the scene when the grocery carts converge, the rolling on the floor during the shoot-out in Miami, the Chicken Lickin' debacle, the foot massage, the salon hair-washing.) There is a very "theatrical" feel to this film, which may be the turn-off for so many whose poor reviews follow: I know some viewers who don't quite understand this style mistake the exaggerations and over-the-top performances for poor acting and worse direction. Not so. Jonathan Demme does a great job bringing to life the entire company and their respective roles.

The opening credits and first scene rank among my all-time favorites, as well (another favorite opening credits/first scene: Fly Away Home).

Too bad Matthew Modine so ardently skipped out of the public eye; I really like him, and found his casting PERFECT in the role of Mike Smith. Actually, this film is well-cast from soup to nuts: everyone is believable and true to his role. As for the question of expecting audience to accept Pfeiffer and Stockwell as Italians - why not? I thought they pulled it off perfectly well.

Charming, fun, exciting... what is there not to like? If you want a little fun, watch this quirky, colorful adventure-mob-love story. If you are looking to learn more about organized crime and families, tune to HBO's The Sopranos.
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Second Chance
claudio_carvalho7 September 2015
The mobster 'Cucumber' Frank de Marco (Alec Baldwin) is married with the housewife Angela de Marco (Michelle Pfeiffer) and she in unhappy with their marriage and wants the divorce. Frank is having a love affair with Karen Lutnick (Nancy Travis), who is the mistress of his boss Tony 'The Tiger' Russo (Dean Stockwell). When Tony discovers their love affair, he kills them in a party. Tony is under surveillance of the FBI agents Mike Downey (Matthew Modine) and Ed Benitez (Oliver Platt) and during the wake, Tony kisses Angela. The agents and Tony's wife Connie Russo (Mercedes Ruehl) believe that the widow Angela is having an affair with Tony. Angela takes the opportunity to move from the suburbs to a small apartment in New York with her son. Meanwhile Mike bugs her apartment and soon they fall in love with each other. But Tony discovers her new address and courts her. Soon the FBI Senior Management blackmails Angela to force her to get close to Tony to help the FBI to arrest him and she discovers that Mike is an agent. Will Angela give a second chance to Mike?

"Married to the Mob" is another great film from the 80's, directed by Jonathan Demme and with a story with comedy, romance and action. The chemistry between Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine is impressive but Mercedes Ruehl steals the show. There is cameo participation of famous people and this movie is still attractive and has not aged after being watched many times along almost thirty years. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "De Caso com a Máfia" ("In an Affair with the Mafia")
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This movie is delightful: It's a hoot
fldelk-119 June 2006
This is a romantic comedy, so it's really a fairy tale, but an unconventional one. Cinderella, rather than living in the ashes, lives in an overdecorated castle in the suburbs with a good looking husband who's no prince. She does find her prince, but he's not that handsome. Instead of a castle, at least initially, she gets a tiny walk-up in Manhattan.

Pfeifer, Stockwell and Ruehl lead a cast of fully realized, if a little over-the-top, characters.

Demme reaches the highest level of movie-making in my mind. He creates a world I want to move into - a Manhattan neighborhood and street life teeming with life and community.

I wish IMDb linked to reviewers' other comments. I'd like to know what other movies the people who panned this one hate. I am always looking for a lot of laughs and for nice places in which to "live" at least for an hour or so.
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It doesn't have to go over the top just to be funny.
mhasheider10 February 2003
Strange but acceptable mob comedy that has an undercover FBI agent (Matthew Modine) flirting with a mobster's concerned widow (Michelle Pfeffier) to tie two murders on a elusive mob boss (Dean Stockwell).

The movie shows that it doesn't have to go over the top just to be funny and director Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs", "Philadelphia") keeps the movie from looking like it being was restrained. That's good and it avoids being predictiable, too.
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The funniest mob flick I've ever seen
Solid_Gold26 August 2013
I can't get enough of this flick! The first time that I watched it, I was a little girl and I love it even more now as an adult. Okay, so it's not one of Pfeiffer's best movies, but it's still good. A delightful mob satire, it's almost non-stop laughs. Mercedes Ruehl stole the show. She had the best lines, especially during the grocery store scene. She's the generic ball-busting mafia wife with the best one-liners on film since "Dirty Harry". Seriously, I kept on flipping through the flick just to watch the scenes with her over and over again. She's the best! Dean Stockwell is also pretty good in this, a very charming and rakish version of Tony Soprano. And Angela's Caribbean friend was also a nice touch. Watch this movie if you need cheering up!
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Following In Ava's And Marilyn's Footsteps...
ferbs5429 November 2007
What happened to Ava Gardner in the 1940s and Marilyn Monroe in the '50s also seemed to take place for modern-day actress Michelle Pfeiffer in the '80s: Her remarkable good looks got in the way of her being taken seriously as an accomplished, superbly talented actress. Anyone looking for validation of Pfeiffer's dramatic abilities need look no further than her work in 1991's "Frankie and Johnny" or '92's "Love Field" (a personal favorite of mine); those looking to see what a splendid comedic actress she can be, when given the right part, should check out 1988's "Married to the Mob." In this one, she plays Angela Demarco, the widow of a recently "iced" Mob hit-man, who moves from her garishly tacky Long Island home to start a new life for herself and her son, while being pursued by Mob boss Dean Stockwell and FBI man Matthew Modine. While this movie has lots going for it (a very amusing script; offbeat characters; sudden sharp turns to unexpected violence, as in director Jonathan Demme's previous effort "Something Wild"; and hilarious yet menacing performances by Stockwell and Mercedes Ruehl, as his jealous wife from hell), Michelle steals the show easily. Notice how perfectly she nails Angela's undereducated, Long Island Italian accent, and the many fine mannerisms that she brings to the role to really flesh out this spunky and surprisingly bright character. Once upon a time, long ago, Oscars were handed out to actresses for comedic roles such as this one. Had this film been made 60 years ago, Michelle mighta been a contenduh...
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Good fun.
karen-12825 June 2001
It ain't Shakespeare, that's true, but it is a light and breezy romp. Pfieffer and Modine and Baldwin and Dean Stockwell are all having a great time with this 'dissatisfied mob wife' tale, and you will too. Interesting to watch this in the light of the "sopranos"- they are like loopy relatives somehow. Demme went on to greater, darker films (silence of the lambs, philadelphia) but I still enjoy his lighter period. So will you.
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It's so Eighties!
Ms H22 February 1999
If you're looking for a not-so-serious mob movie, with a female as the lead, you're in the right place. Pfieffer has acted much better than this. You can see she has matured beyond this picture.

When I first picked this movie up, I expected Pfeiffer was poorly miscast, however, she plays her mob wife role to the hilt. Not a bad performance from Baldwin, either.

If you don't pay attention to the hair, you might enjoy this movie. But don't take it too seriously...
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The Italian Perspective
jwpeel-129 October 2005
First, don't be fooled by my family name. My mother was full blooded Italian, so I really know Italian families, and I LOVE mobster movies, even the funny ones like this.

For those people who have bad rapped this film (you know who you are) you should have your movie privileges taken from you because you don't know what good is. This is a damn funny and well-styled film. The fact that almost nobody is Italian in it is part of the joke, so far as I can see. And what red-blooded straight male could complain about spending an hour and something with the likes of Michelle Pfieffer? Puh-lease! When I saw this film it won me over with the opening song by Rosemary Clooney who was as Irish as one can get, but her pronunciation of the Italian words in "Mambo Italiano" is flawless and sets the tone of what is to follow perfectly. (Hell, I even bought the record the next day because of it.) Just the look of every garish thing in the apartment that I have personally seen in my relatives houses, though not in the same place (which I found hysterical) sold it for me.

This movie is like Goodfellas on laughing gas. I just wonder why there are no Burger Worlds and what happened to the food these guys were supposed to get? My guess is the crew ate it. "The Fries are crispy. The shakes are creamy." My mouth is watering almost as much as it is thinking of the gorgeous Ms. Pfieffer. (And I never trusted clowns anyway.) And the three best things about this film are Mercedes Ruehl's achingly funny mob wife spurned, Dean Stockwell as her philandering husband Tony "The Tiger" and last, but DEFINITELY not least, the great mugging by Oliver Platt who should get more comic roles. And note to myself: find out where that black chick went. Ouch! Why does she work so infrequently? This picture is right alongside the great mob movies as it should be.
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Silly 80's gangster movie with some highlights
eddiespn5 January 2016
Came across this the other day on TV and what drew my attention right away was a young Alec Baldwin and Michelle Pfeiffer and her dreamy eyes and 80s fashion and then you start hearing some 80s music from New Order and it's like okay I'm hooked.But the movie got worse as it went along it seemed.It had some awesome potential but it seemed like the directors intention was to make this movie silly.Don't get me wrong I have nothing against silly but I really think this movie could have been a great smart comedy.This movie is saved somewhat by Michelle, you're drawn by how beautiful she looked in this film while trying to convey trashy gangster wife, and the acting overall in this movie is pretty good, you see lots of generic mobster acting mannerisms that were the style of the time which you sometimes still see till recently in the Sopranos for example. If you're going to into this movie looking for some silly fun and a 80s period piece than you will like it.
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80's Screwball Comedy
sandravalero-500483 April 2021
What could have been a silly mobster film OR a stupid rom-com becomes BOTH at the same time in this brilliant film by the late Jonathan Demme.

Mathew Modine and Dean Stockwell are terrific, but obviously this is Michelle Pfeiffer's movie and my god is she a star. I remember seeing it for the first time in the 80's and I never thought much of her and then I was totally blown away by this performance. It's big and broad comedy but with a genuine heart underneath it.

Okay... So Silence of The Lambs is terrific... but I always tell people to go watch Married to the Mob and Something Wild to see Demme at his finest. The mixing of genres is so damn difficult and he makes it look easy.
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Playing fire with danger, and then putting on a straight face when one's laughter line start to quiver, that's none-so-secret recipe of Demme's mob comedy
lasttimeisaw15 May 2020
"Spiked with haphazard, slo-mo shoot-'em-up set pieces where no blood is allowed to spurt onto the screen, MARRIED TO THE MOB is at its most charming when comically toys with Angela's plight and lets Pfeiffer shine with her unrivaled gorgeousness viscerally tinted with angst and yearning, fully elicits her seriocomic bent that no '80s-bad hairdo can blot out, and in the result, Modine is mostly sidelined as an innocuous doll, his Mike might never be emotionally mature enough for Angela a posteriori, yet, on screen, they are merely adorable together."

read the full review on my blog: cinema omnivore, thanks
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Fine Work From Jonathan Demme
gavin694216 May 2017
An undercover FBI agent falls in love with a recently widowed mafia wife, who is trying to restart her life following her husband's murder while being pursued by a libidinous mafia kingpin seeking to claim her for himself.

I was a bit hesitant on this one. I'm not a big fan of gangster movies for the most part. But this one excels at blending the comedy and the crime. It just hits home perfectly on many levels, with so many great actors filling in the roles at the right spots. (This means you, Tracey Walter!) Some have said this is Michelle Pfeiffer's finest role. That would be hard to say. She had a good streak going for a while, and I would be inclined to say i prefer Catwoman in "Batman Returns". But this would still rank up there, maybe in second?
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"Whose husband are you, dogface?"
utgard1424 May 2014
Mafia widow Michelle Pfeiffer tries to start over, away from her late husband's criminal life. She moves into a crummy apartment on the bad side of town with her son and gets a job as a hairdresser. Meanwhile, she is followed by horny mafia boss Dean Stockwell out to sleep with her and undercover FBI agent Matthew Modine trying to nab Stockwell. Somewhat inevitably, Modine falls for Pfeiffer and things become complicated. Mostly light dramedy with a great cast. I've seen it called a screwball comedy but I can't really agree with that. It has too many serious moments for a screwball, I think. Pfeiffer is wonderful and owns the movie. Stockwell is also good with a fun performance by Mercedes Ruehl as his jealous wife. It's no classic but worth a look.
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Not terribly funny...but fun !!
tmpj13 August 2010
In my attempts to catch up with films I did not see during their original theatrical release, I have reached the point of viewing "Married to the Mob", a film that I have heard about, but have never seen until to-day, some 22 years post-release. Was in no hurry to see it, and did not know what to expect. On the VHS cover it was called "...Godfather on laughing gas" one reviewer. Well, it was hardly that intense. The comedy in this film is rather subtle for the most part...because this film is not necessarily populated by comedians. But...I was pleasantly surprised. Michelle Pfeiffer gave a pretty good performance as a vulnerable mob wife who is, very deep inside, a decent caring person. Her husband is whacked by a mob boss, who immediately begins to make moves on Pfeiffer, despite the fact that he is married. His wife is a jealous, insecure basket case who would rather see him dead than see him with another woman. Pfeiffer moves away and tries to start all over...but to not much avail. But she does not know that the mob boss is the target of the FBI and other agencies who want to nail him...and at first they wanted to also nail her, until she unknowingly falls for one of the agents who discovers the truth about her innocence. The film has its moments, and I guess there are some funny moments in this piece of celluloid, but not enough to really qualify it as a "comedy". No side-splitting humor, just funny characters and situations that are not fully taken advantage of. Pfeiffer's portrayal is one of the reasons to watch the film...and the jealous wife of the mob boss has to be seen to be believed. Not a bad flick overall, and I did not think I was going to like it at all. But I did like it...mind you, I said "Like"...not "Love". It is a worthwhile watch...and you don't need to be "Married to the Mob" to have a little fun...thank goodness it has not come to that just yet.
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"They don't call Him Franky the Cucumber for nothing."
LeonLouisRicci22 January 2014
Outrageous and Subtle this is a Comedy for the Anti-Adam-Sandler Crowd. Sophisticated, Witty, and Charming it is Everything that Most Modern Comedies Lack, just a Little bit of Intelligence Please. There isn't a Body Excretion Joke within a Mile of this Screwiness.

The Cast is Superb with Michelle Pfeiffer and Dean Stockwell Standing Out and is so Good that poor Talentless Matthew Modine is so Glaringly Inept that it is Embarrassing. Director Jonathan Demme is in Fine Form and the Movie is a Garishly Grotesque Display as it Pokes Fun at the 1980's Outrageous Fashion Template Contemporaneously and that is a Sign of Genius and Second Sight.

It is a quite Dry Comedy that Tends to be in Restraint and might have been Even Better Amped Up a Notch, but Maybe Not. It Works Well as is and most will have a Good Time with this Mob Comedy that Today 25 Years Later may seem Dated but Truth Wins Out, because this was made well in Advance of these Situations becoming so Familiar.

Wonderfully Offbeat, Breezy, and Inoffensive, this along with the Director's Similarly Styled Something Wild (1986) would make a Great Double Feature.
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