The Freshman (1990) Poster

(1990)

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8/10
A comedy no one can refuse ...
ElMaruecan8226 June 2012
How many actors could have parodied their most classic roles without falling into caricature? Think about it: while it takes a certain talent to make a performance that elevates a character to a legendary status, overplaying enough to make it comical but not over-the-top is the ultimate proof of acting genius. And only Marlon Brando could have got away with playing his most iconic character, the Godfather, and make it so damn believable. And it's this very seriousness in his performance that makes "The Freshman" so delightful and naturally, hilarious.

Although not revolutionary, what makes "The Freshman" such a classic on its own is that it accomplishes a real miracle by resuscitating Vito Corleone, his name is Carmine Sabatini but the movie can't fool us: the guy IS Vito Corleone. As explained in the film, Sabatini's the one who inspired Vito's character, in other words, "The Freshman" is so confident over its comical premise, and rightfully so, that it doesn't even hesitate to insert several references to "The Godfather". And these are not just gratuitous 'Godfather' references thrown away for the sake of it, it's important to know that it's not a parallel world where the movie isn't supposed to exist. On the contrary, not only it does, but whoever sees Carmine Sabatini has the most natural reaction by immediately thinking of Vito Corleone. The movie, in a way, asks the question, how any of us would react in front of a movie character. How would I if I met my favorite character? I guess, probably like Clark Kellog, Matthew Broderick as a film college student, the titular "Freshman".

And the deserved praises on Brando's performance shouldn't diminish Broderick's talent at all. With his awkward youngish look, Broderick is the perfect straight-man for a comical duo with Brando. Indeed, the comedic power of "The Freshman" relies on the extraordinary ability of Brando to play his character seriously in a non-serious film. Consequently, we don't laugh at Brando because he's too believable (we'd never treat him so disrespectfully), but at Broderick's disbelief. There's one part where Carmine offers a job to Clark, and gives him the hand of friendship as a solemn promise that no harm would happen to him. 'How can I say no?' replies Clark, to which Carmine dryly retorts 'that's not a yes, I want to hear yes', he takes a walnut and break it with his own hand, making a threatening sound. This improvisation, proving that Brando didn't lose his acting instinct and trademark use of props in movie scenes, provoked an even more genuine reaction from Broderick who didn't know the walnut had already been broken before the shooting.

Clark had no other choice than to say yes, after all, isn't Vito Corleone, the man who makes offers we can't refuse? The film's funniest moments are driven by Sabantini's aura and Clark's incapability to control the situation or to say 'no'. The script finds the perfect tone to show a guy screwed but in a way that inspires our sympathy without feeling antipathy toward Sabatini. And another triumph on the writing department is the way everything seems believable despite all the zany material it employs. Whether it's a picture of Mussolini in an Italian Social club, an espresso that takes three spoons of sugar, the Mona Lisa painting in Carmine's house, and a weird traffic involving a Komodo dragon, I wonder why I wanted to believe that the first time I saw it. Maybe I was just a 10-year old kid who just laughed at the gags without looking too much deeper into it. The irony is that after watching 'The Godfather' so many times, I believed in Sabatini even more.

That's not to say that it takes to be a 'Godfather' fan to enjoy the film, but it sure helps and not just for laughs. There is a heart in this film, and there is something very nostalgic, almost poignant to see Sabatini interacting with Clark. Sabatini is so sweet you'd forget he's a dangerous person. Brando finds the perfect note because he makes Sabatini lovable, while Vito was feared and respected, the way he treats Clark like the son he never had, his unexpected outburst of joy or sadness, his tender kisses or slaps in the face are all expression of a sincere love. Yes, we laugh when he never remembers Clark's hometown ("You're from Connecticut" he joyfully says as if it meant something), when he calls him "Kent" instead of "Clark", or casually tells him that he'll marry his beautiful daughter Tina (Penelop Ann Mirren), but we still take him seriously because we never see when he's acting and when he's serious. And it doesn't really matter since in both cases, it's funny.

But I make the film sound like the 'Brando' show, while it features a great cast of supporting characters, notably Bruno Kirby as Vic the streetwise nephew who emphasizes every word said by his Carmine. Maximilan Schells steals the show as a demented German chef. You would probably notice Frank Whaley, the 'what?' man from "Pulp Fiction" as Clark's slick roommate. The film makes many references to "The Godfather" series, an apparent favorite of Clark's teacher, the goofy monomaniacal Pr. Fleeber (Paul Benedict). Interestingly, the film was released the same year than the last opus of the trilogy, but I see it more as a coincidence, since the film is much more a reminder of how iconic the first two were.

"The Freshman" is still a delightful comedy, cleverly written, with the perfect dosage of verbal humor and slapstick, the journey featuring the Komodo dragon would be seen as an oddity considering the film's context, but it totally makes sense at the end. Everything brilliantly tie up at the end, even the weird affection between Sabatini and Kellon, the little spice that gives this film, its unique flavor ... with basil cream sauce.
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8/10
Highly enjoyable
Boyo-214 March 2000
This is a very funny movie that casts Matthew Broderick as a new-to-the-city college kid who gets mixed up with a shady character named Vic right after he arrives. Through a series of events, he becomes involved with Vic's family, which include Uncle Carmine and his daughter Tina.

Everyone is perfectly suited to his role and even Brando appears to be having a lot of fun with his own image. The supporting cast is worth mentioning - especially Paul Benedict as an obnoxious college professor, and Maximillian Shell as a business associate of Carmine Sabatini.

This is ultimately a touching movie about loyalty and family, and it sure is fun.

You even get to see the Mona Lisa if you watch this movie!
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10/10
Highly Recommended!
torii1517 September 2000
This is a delightful little movie by Andrew Bergman, the director of "The In-Laws". It features among other things Marlon Brando doing an incredibly funny take-off on his own performance in "The Godfather". Brando and Broderick play off each other beautifully and Penelope Anne Miller is equally wonderful as Brando's sexy daughter. Despite the fact that this movie is largely farce, the direction and acting give the characters a depth that you wouldn't expect. Full of surprises and off-beat touches. The one minor flaw is the performance of a Komodo dragon that looks suspiciously like a Monitor lizard - OK, is a Monitor Lizard.
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7/10
Further Viewings
rmax30482311 June 2004
What a wacky plot. Broderick is hired to convey illegally imported endangered species by Brando, playing Carmine ("Jimmy the Toucan") Sabatini, in order to provide million-dollar-a-plate dinners for a bunch of international degenerates who revel in eating forbidden fruit, or in this instance lizards. It's the kind of plot you dream up while sitting around all night half-gassed with a couple of buddies who have a good sense of the absurd.

Broderick is Clark Kellog (whom Sabatini calls "Kent"), a naif just in from Vermont to attend film school at NYU. Sabatini is the "importer" he works for and a ringer for "The Godfather." (The original was almost a self parody.) Those are the principal roles and Broderick handles the role of straight man, being sucked into a Mafia-like existence, competently. Brando is unforgettable. He tried one or two comedies before and they tanked, but he's a winner here, cracking walnuts in his fist, weeping with emotion as he embraces his new employee.

But it's not just the relationship between Clark and Sabatini that's amusing. It's also just about everything in between, including what we see of the film school, where the professor assigns seven hundred dollars worth of his own books as required reading, and is working on a paper that will combine -- what was it? -- Plato, Marx, and semiotics in a deconstruction of "The Godfather", or something equally insane? Maximilian Schell is a much under-rated or unnoticed actor. He consistently turns in riveting performances but has never achieved major stardom. It doesn't matter whether it's drama ("Judgment at Nurenberg"), comedy thrillers ("Topkapi"), or, as in this case, comedy. He never fails to bring something extra to the role. His first entrance here knocks the whole situation askew. Clark has enlisted a fellow student to help him carry this giant lizard (Varanus komodoensis -- they pronounce the specific name wrong) and a bearded sunglassed Schell ambles into the scene during the delivery, fondling a ferret, looks up with a big smile, and says, "Sabatini said one boy.... Here are two!" Clark runs through his explanation while Schell listens politely before replying, "Sabatini said one boy.... Here are two!" He says it a third time before ambling off. That's ALL he says.

I've seen this about three times since I first commented on it and, although this is anything but a "deep" movie, I've continually found things, mostly jokes, that I'd missed earlier. I must give a few examples.

Never before had I noticed some particular details in the scene in which Brando cracks the walnuts. I had just seen him cracking walnuts. More recently I've noticed that in this scene Brando, apparently dead serious, tells Broderick that he wants him to accept the job offer. "I don't want to hear 'no', I want to hear 'yes.'" And that, immediately after these lines, while Broderick is pondering an answer, Brando picks up TWO walnuts, rolls them in his palm, and slowly but noisily CRACKS them.

And another of the many allusions to "The Godfather" finally registered on my interpretive apparatus. As the end credits begin to roll, Broderick and Brando are taking the monitor for a walk through the cornfields in long shot. And we can hear Brando's voice offering Broderick some career assistance. "Y'know, Clark, when you get out to Hollywood, maybe I can help you." "No, please." "It wouldn't take much. Just a few phone calls." "NO!" "I could kick open a few doors for you." The penny finally dropped and I could see Brando arranging to have a lopped-off horse head planted in some producer's bed.

Just a few other points. One is that the score owes something to "The Stunt Man." Another is that Brando seems so perfectly comfortable in this self parody. He seems to be genuinely enjoying himself. His body language is exquisite. He lolls around in his chair, sticks his tongue in his cheek (literally), waves his hands, shrugs, and does everything else flawlessly. Sometimes his whiskery voice gets away from the Don Corleone model. I don't think Vito Corleone would be so indignant when talking about Polaroid and IBM on the phone. "I told you before, Charlie, I don't LIKE it when they go DOWN. Listen. I had another stock broker once and he only called me with bad news. It got very UNPLEASANT, Charlie, y'unnerstand me?"

And anyone who thinks of the later Brando as a bloated hypocrite who has lost whatever acting chops he once had should take another look at the scene in which he visits Broderick in the college dorm room. Broderick, at Brando's own request, recites a poem written by his father, a rather elliptical one, and Brando's character picks it up immediately -- "Ah, the cat." And the discussion about Curious George. And Brando's momentary melancholy as he looks around the college dorm, an environment as alien to him as the planet Neptune, shrugs and comments, "Well, I didn't miss nuthin'." It isn't funny. It's touching.

I thought this movie was very funny and quite original, considering the stale material it was sending up, and I still think so. Two years' worth of additional viewings hasn't changed things. You must see it, if only to hear Bert Parks sing "I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more."
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10/10
Gosh, this is one of the very best comedies ever made, folks.
negevoli-4420 June 2000
How anyone can say this is not a great film except for Marlon Brando's performance is beyond me. His performance is great, of course. But the whole movie is phenomenal, not just Brando. It is perfect -- a 10-plus -- from start to finish. The entire cast stands out -- not just Brando. How a reviewer can focus on Brando's piece of business with walnuts is beyond me -- his business with the espresso is even more effective. But why zoom in on one relatively insignificant piece of Brando schtick when you have his whole performance to salivate over, and the equally outstanding performances of the entire cast. There is not one false note or faltering moment in this fabulously clever and eminently watchable film. Yes, Bert Parks does stand out in his cameo performance, as does B.D. Wong, as does Bruno Kirby, and on and on and on. This underrated comedy made the American Film Institute's list of 100 funniest comedies -- I could hardly believe it. Despite that, it is one of the best American movies, certainly best American comedies, ever made.
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8/10
As graceful and charming a performance as he ever gave
laursene27 December 2004
Word has it that Brando wasn't happy with the movie, but it's hard to see why. Bergman's ham-fisted humor hits the mark a lot more of the time than usual, the ensemble cast is fine (Matthew Broderick is always best in these kinds of settings, at least when it comes to movies), and the one major anachronistic gaffe (no mafia boss would have a photo of Mussolini in a place of honor on the wall - he locked 'em up and they hated him) is harmless in context.

But Brando is what makes the movie special: like a sprinkling of something heavenly on an otherwise earthbound enterprise. He's done far more brilliant work elsewhere, of course, but I can't think of another movie that caught just what a uniquely odd presence he was.

I'll say it again: As graceful and charming a performance as he ever gave. RIP, big man.
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10/10
Great!
bjdogg13 November 2000
This is one of my favorite movies, one I can watch and enjoy on repeated viewing. All the actors really bought into the tone of the movie, which tells me that the director had a clear vision and was able to communicate it to the cast. Brando is brilliant, as usual, and I find his performance to be highly entertaining in that he spoofed his Godfather persona so effectively. I always enjoy seeing (and hearing--love his voice) Bruno Kirby, and I especially like that he was cast in a movie about the Godfather, given the fact that he had played the young Clemenza in the Godfather II. Penelope Miller also played her part well--I especially liked her character's behavior toward Matthew Broderick's character as she assumed he was going to marry her and be part of the family. Her exasperation with Broderick ("This isn't the Clark I know") was great.

Then there's Matthew Broderick. This is the last movie he made that I truly enjoyed. He is absolutely perfect in this part. His part calls for him to portray his earnest and trusting personality, his loyalty to Brando's character and to the job he agreed to perform, his growing fondness and respect for Brando's character, and his confusion about perhaps having given his respect to such a disreputable character. Broderick carries off all these aspects of his role, yet shows the strength of character to be able to help solve all his problems by the movie's end.

Or, he could have ended up as Rodolfo Lasparri of Palermo, Sicily.
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10/10
This movie is an offer you can't refuse.
lee_eisenberg20 May 2006
In "The Freshman", Marlon Brando gets to spoof his most famous role as godfather Carmine "Jimmy the Toucan" Sabatini, who hires college freshman Clark Kellogg (Matthew Broderick) to start running errands. The movie's a great romp every step of the way, avoiding cheap gags in favor of a more complex plot. Every cast member gets time to develop his/her character, with a really neat conclusion. This is definitely one comedy that will not sleep with the fishes. Also starring Bruno Kirby, Penelope Ann Miller, Frank Whaley, B.D. Wong, Maximilian Schell and Bert Parks.

And the Mona Lisa...now THAT's a Da Vinci Code!
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10/10
"Well, without humour what do we have?"
adamblake7725 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I must have seen this film twenty times. It's one of my absolute favourites. It's gentle, heartfelt, funny, subtle and delicate. It's also, of course, an absolute delight for movie buffs. I know it's an absurd thing to say, but in many ways this is my favourite Brando performance: he's having such a good time sending himself up. He does it with such obvious relish but, at the same time, he IS Marlon Brando, the greatest actor Hollywood ever produced, and his character has all the regal gravitas that he brought to bear so effectively in "The Godfather". For those of us who thought that the only thing wrong with "The Godfather" was that there wasn't enough of the old man, this film is an unheard of feast.

Of course the story is daft, so what? I LOVE the scenes with the giant lizard - especially the end with Brando walking it and talking to it. There are so many great lines - I suggest that your reviewer who couldn't understand a word Brando said throughout the film cleans his ears out so he can hear gems such as: "So this is college. I didn't miss nothing'", and, "When you get to Hollywood I want you to gimme a call. I could kick a few doors open for ya." And Maximilion Schell: superb as the mad chef. "Carmine said one boy, here are two." There are so few gentle Hollywood comedies, with genuine poignancy, where the "feelgood" factor isn't tacked on, where's there's no sentimental slop, just humanity and warmth. Cherish this beautiful little film and marvel that it even ever came to be made.
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9/10
An underrated pleasure
fadeout22 June 1999
A small, delightful film, which let's Brando playfully deconstruct his Vito Corleone. Full of laughs and surprises, it accomplishes its goal of being a small, funny coming of age story as admirably as Godfather accomplishes its grander goals. The coincidences build on each other as in a Pynchon novel. And the scattered references to the Curious George books turn out to have a funny payoff as well.
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The Freshman
Coxer9910 August 1999
Hilarious comedy from the talented Andrew Bergman about a New York film student who meets and falls in line with a "Godfather," lookalike...played by "The Godfather," himself, Brando in a wonderfully juicy role. Broderick is good, as always along with a great supporting cast of Kirby and Miller.
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The Film Professor
tedg23 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

I really appreciate what Brando has done for film. I rank him with the greats for inventing how we dream: with Welles, Kurosawa, Tarkovsky, Kubrick. He brought to film a style of acting that revolutionized film acting: the technique of adding an extra dimension of the actor's person to that of the character.

His `Streetcar' was a revolution, and if he stopped there still would have mattered. But he ran out of directors that knew how to challenge him. So he shifted gears and came up with the `Godfather' approach. Here he added a third dimension. He played an actor playing a character who is playing a role. Everything in that film took its operatic tone from Brando's bold innovation.

What to do next? Add another dimension or two of course. He doesn't care about the story, or whether the director knows his stuff, or even whether the picture is good. He only cares about his own quest. So we have here Brando playing the model of the Godfather role, while playing the role as a metarole. The story -- such as it is -- involves a beginner at film school, and a huge con. It actually contains the line: `there are so many levels to this thing, you can't imagine.' It features a poem about a man in a yellow hat and a doorway on Boylston Street, about roles, illusions and memory.

If you forget about the film (a pleasurable feast which is not what it seems) and focus on what Brando is actually doing, you'll be treated to a work of genius. His next project along these lines was the `Demarco' project which deals more directly with actors acting roles that invent realities that other actors and their characters can enter. The intelligent Mr. Depp. I can think of only a small handful of actors that even care what this is all about. Broderick is nearly one: too bad for us he can't build a life in film and retreats to the stage instead. (Penelope is only here because she was his girlfriend.)

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.
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10/10
Must see over again to appreciate
arobbins-416 August 2006
I read many of the reviews and I concur with the positive ones. A wonderful blend of acting, direction and writing that improves with each viewing. I was surprised at the small number of quotes. The scene between Tina and Fleeber from when she enters the room to when she leaves is priceless. "My father thinks Clark is an A student", "I am Carmine Sabatini's only daughter", etc. So many excellent quotes. My wife and I bring them up often. "Rodolfo Lasparri of Palermo". Classic, subtle comic performances. I wonder if Brando saw the edited version? Plus, the cast call exits and the end add a wonderful touch, as they did in "The Quiet Man" and others.
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8/10
Underrated
stanm626 June 2005
"The Freshman" is one of the most underrated movies of the last 15 years. It succeeds on almost every level. I did not come to that conclusion right away. The first 3 or 4 times I saw it, I was laughing too much to evaluate what I was seeing. The key to comedy is to play things serious and straight ahead. When mugging and a comedy "push" takes over, then we have one of the awful Fockers movies. This film never gives you the impression that it knows it's funny. Comedy comes out of language and the peek that the audience has into an absurd situation in which the characters find themselves and are serious about solving. Almost every character in the movie is in dead earnest about his or her situation. It's up to us to see the juxtaposition of reality and unlikely success. For example, these guys are serious about putting a stabled on a large lizard. They don't think it's funny. They don't play it for laughs. That's up to us. And when comedy like this is done right {as it almost always is in "The Freshman"] then we "get it"; then we laugh. One of the unfortunate offshoots of the Oscar nominating process is that performances like Brando's get overlooked. Do you have any idea how hard it is to do what he did? Vito Corleone was many things. Funny was not one of them. So Brando takes the character and just tweaks it a little to make him believable and yet funny at the same time. If he MISSES this tiny target, it's an embarrassing nightmare. But Marlon doesn't miss. That's why he's Brando. That's why he was as good a film actor as we've ever had. And that's a big reason why "The Freshman" can be seen over and over. The rest of the cast is solid, sometimes wonderful. Some of the cameos are absolutely inspired. But this is Brando's show. Along with Harvey Korman in "Blazing Saddles", it's a crying shame that performances like these frequently get overlooked at Oscartime. By the way...I really like this movie.
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10/10
The Godfather of the 90s........
ajohns116 November 2002
This movie is really cool I like all of the caracters. Matthew Broderic is good as the movie colege kid and best of all Marlon Brando who gives a great performance as the godfather practically Bruno kirby is good as his nephew who at the beginning steels kellog's bag it's especially funny when the commodo dragon runs loose in the mall and it's funny at the beginning when kelleg meets Brando for the first to when he's about to tell him his resemblance to the godfather the whole movie's just hillarious and it's like the godfather of the as apposed to the people in Sicely and the godfather music and it's all set in the 50s but this one's set in the 90s in New York were people everyday can get robed at any time. It's kind of the same as the godfather the scene when (Brando) is going on to the street to get fruit accept he's not about to be shot. If your a fan of the Godfather you'll love this movie. 10/10
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8/10
Very enjoyable.
Peach-210 December 1998
The Freshman is a very funny movie. It has a great story and a very good cast. It also gives us a chance to watch Marlon Brando do some of his finest work. I enjoyed this movie very much.
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9/10
Brando is mesmerising
kbrai4 April 2007
Happened to see THE FRESHMAN over the weekend for the umpteenth time. It is one of Brando's all time greats and proves once and for all that the man (Brando) was capable of everything. This is a comedy, a movie which has you in splits.

for those of you who have not seen this film, it released in 1990 and the plot is as follows: Mathew Broderick comes to new york and joins a film school as a freshman. within 21 minutes of him landing in new york he is robbed of everything by a delightful Bruno Kirby (the young clemenza in godfather 2). Well Broderick happens to see Kirby a couple of days later and confronts him. Kirby tells him that he will make up for the pain he has caused Broderick and takes him to meet his uncle - Carmine Sabitini (marlon brando).

You all will be asking what is so interesting about this. Well here goes, Carmine Sabitinis is the man on whom DON VIT CORLEONE is based one. Brando is spoofing his most famous role ( according to American FILM Institute the greatest character of all time). The film is full of godfather jokes and is downright clever and hilarious. Brando and Broderick jam well with each other. There is a scene where brando ice skates and it is like god ice skating.

what is remarkable about this film is that one of the all time classics is being spoofed, the chances of it being horrible are huge as the bulls eye is small and very far, but brando and the director hit it smack in the middle.

one of my favourite films with a classic one liner from brando - when he visits brodrick in the college hostel - if this is college, i dint miss much.

for those who have not seen it, catch it, its an intelligent comedy.
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A (COMIC) OFFER YOU CAN'T REFUSE
george.schmidt31 March 2003
THE FRESHMAN (1990) *** Matthew Broderick, Marlon Brando, Penelope Ann Miller, Bruno Kirby, Frank Whaley, Maximillian Schell, Paul Benedict, BD Wong, Jon Polito. Rollickingly funny comedy with film school freshman (Broderick at his blithering best) put upon by con man Kirby by being offered a gopher job for a dead ringer of Don Corleone (Brando, in an inspired send up of his icon role and clearly enjoying every minute) involving an endangered species restaurant! Witty, hilarious and out there. Best bit: Bert Parks singing Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" to a King Komodo Dragon (!) Written and directed by Andrew Bergman.
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8/10
Cute - Save the Animals, Not the Humans
ccthemovieman-112 January 2007
This is a solid comedy, with some good laughs and a great "Godfather" imitation by Marlon Brando, making fun of his previous role back in the '70s. My only complaint about this movie is too many misuses of God's name, especially for a light-hearted comedy.

It's more than a comedy, really. It's romance and drama, too, with some good messages and some bad ones, too, to be honest. Matthew Broderick and Penelope Ann Miller make a cute pair and these two were in the primes of their still-young career at the time of this filming. Bruno Kirby gives a memorable supporting performance, too. He plays a key figure early on, and then gives way to the rest of the cast.

The story keeps you guessing all the way, with several twists including a big one near the end, even if it makes little sense when you think about it. The mixed messages and unlikelihood of most of things that happen here, are not to be taken seriously....just enjoyed for the entertainment value alone.
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7/10
Ferris Bueller meets The Godfather!
MovieAddict201629 February 2004
A nice self-referential comedy about a first-year film student in New York City who gets involved with an "importer" (Marlon Brando) who turns out to be a Mafia kingpin.

This is probably the only opportunity you will ever get to see Marlon Brando (whose ego is as large as his stomach) poke fun at his own image, which was created back in 1972 with "The Godfather."

Here Brando essentially plays Don Vito Corlone, and everyone knows it, and it works. Sometimes it's like watching a comedy sequel to the trilogy.

My only wish? That Robert De Niro had appeared in a small cameo. (Trivia note: De Niro and Brando are the only two actors to ever achieve Oscars for playing the same characters.)

Also, Bruno Kirby is in this. Bruno Kirby was in "The Godfather Part II," which starred Robert De Niro as Vito Corlone, who Brando played in the original.

Talk about coincidental links.

3/5 stars.

  • John Ulmer
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9/10
Good Movie with a nice twist
geoff3319 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a good film. but it does send a mixed message at the beginning. The viewer is led to believe that the movie is a serious "Godfather-like" clone, but one realizes after about 30 minutes that the movie is really a comedy-suspense spoof, with a touch of whodunit. The line is not clear about who the good guys and bad guys are until the end of the movie. Marlon Brando is superb, as are Matthew Broderick and Penelope Ann Miller. Most people will laugh through a third of this movie and sit on the edge of their seat for another third. Clark, the Broderick character, is just trying to earn some extra money for school and his ambition and naiveté combine to make him the perfect "stooge" for a bigger plan. Tina, the Penelope Miller character, plays the perfect seductress who gains Clark's trust. The film also contains a decent romantic element. I highly recommend this movie.
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Complete Hilarity!
senorvoce9 July 2004
This film works on every level- romantic comedy, comic farce, and madcap adventure. The boyish Clark Kellogg (Matthew Broderick) lights out upon the adventure of his life in New York City, and the triumph of this movie is, we all come along for the ride. And for those of us well versed in the lore of 'The Godfather", it's an adventure we all absolutely relish.

Marlon Brando (Carmine Sabbatini) recreates Don Corleone, and it's like a fine vintage wine. An outstanding supporting cast fills out the film perfectly. Director Andrew Bergman smartly weaves this wily, smart, and clever beyond words, film. One spends the entire film involuntarily grinning throughout the film. Bravo!
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9/10
Laughs plus Brando and Broderick
pensman26 October 2002
The Freshman is not quite a classic but it is a great winter day (or rainy day) rental. Brando spoofs his Godfather role, Broderick sets the tone for his continuing roles as film actor/narrator, and Penelope Ann Miller looks great. There is a nice over the top performance by Maximilian Shell as chef Larry London; and Paul Benedict (you'll recognize him when you see him) is perfect as the imperious professor Arthur Fleeber who has made a niche for himself as the proclaimed expert on The Godfather films.

A lot have films have ridden in on the coat tails of this one including Analyze This. Nice laughs throughout. One to watch.
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A charmingly funny movie
merlinthewiza4425 June 2002
After reading some of the negative comments posted I'm wondering if any of these folks saw that same movie I did. This movie works on several levels. Yes, Marlon Brando's performance (essentially lampooning his "Don Corleone" role in "The Godfather") is outstanding. But so are the other actor's performances. Matthew Broderick's take on the ever increasing absurdity that goes on around him is priceless. The whole thing hangs together very well, even as it gets wierder and wierder. Jimmy the Toucan rocks! (Although "No one really calls him that.")
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8/10
Brando does a self parody in this smart comedy
goya-430 September 2000
Matthew Broderick stars as a college student in need of some quick bucks so he is hired by Brando to "run some errands" . A quirky movie that has its very funny moments..The cast is great Broderick does well and brando parodizes his most famous role..watch out for the alligators! on a scale of one to ten 8
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