Brain Donors (1992) Poster


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One of the funniest, yet most under-rated comedies ever made
dbborroughs10 August 2004
This movie is funny, not ha ha funny, but stop breathing turn blue fall on the floor pass out funny.

Whether you find it funny at all will depend on one thing, do you think that a Marx Brothers style movie could be made now? If you don't think so or hate the Marxes then don't bother seeing it, you'll be wasting your time. However, if you like comedy that's both clever and stupid in the classic Marx sort of way, see this film.

The plot has Groucho, er...John Turturro playing a shyster lawyer who is trying to bilk a rich widow of her money by fronting for a ballet. Add to the madness Mel Smith in the Chico role and the incredibly under rated Bob Nelson in a role Harpo would have played if he talked. Its all madness, mis-representation and misdirection that ends up on stage in a ballet only an insane person could have come up with (its at this point breathing becomes optional).

See this movie.

Its simply one of the greatest screen comedies, even though almost no one has seen it.

10 out of 10.
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Miss! These seats are terrible, they're facing the stage...
Pookyiscute10 February 2004
This movie makes you cry you're laughing so hard. I've seen it countless times, and it just gets better and better each time I see it. The writing is brilliant and the acting is just as good if not better. John Turtturo was born to play this part, just like all his other roles, but excellent in this one in particular. A take off on the Marx brothers' Animal Crackers (1930), it captures a more modern feel, only being twelve years old.

So many great moments and lines it's hard to pick a favorite scene or dialogue. I think that my favorite part of the movie if forced to choose would have to be one of the last scenes, when they are at the ballet and the two guys come out on stage and start hunting swans and ducks with rifles and blood hounds! Every time I see that I think I'm going to faint I'm laughing so hard! One of the best all time movies ever made, and should have one an Academy Award for best comedy of it's time. A classic that will most assuredly go down in history!

I give this movie a 10 out of 10.

End of review.
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A superb comedy team -underrated -the New Marx brothers
buzznzipp199520 January 2007
I heard about Brain Donor's and thought that it was a joke that someone told me. I didn't even think that this existed. Man! What a comedic-hammering I got when I saw this. This has to be up there as one of the slap stick funniest of all-time. If it's not something is truly wrong with our critic-rating system. These guys, who i wasn't aware of except Turturro from Miami Vice and William Friedkin's "To Live And Die In L.A." and those certainly weren't comedy. So I had no reference for him to gage in a comedy. These other two Bob Nelson and Mel Smith where outstanding! Thy were unbelievably funnier than other comedies that were in the theater then. I am just astounded that there are no reported awards for these guys in this film. From all the other stuff that wins and for this not a 'wink' 'nod' or 'whisper' to speak of. Dennis Dugan has a great sense about him in comedy story telling. And for all I can remember, of seeing his movies, he always has, hence : 'Problem Child' etc.

I was glad to see that this is now out on DVD. As before I was wearing out the VHS that I had with it playing so much. Yet it has been years since I have had the enjoyment of this.

For a real comedy-face slapping good time, I recommend these guys to only those with a sense of humor. Those without need not apply. Now this is one that you have a sequel for or two or three.

Ten out of a comedy ten (*****)
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The funniest one-liners since Groucho.
Tug-323 November 1998
A lot of critics moaned when this movie came out that its characters were pale imitations of the Marx Brothers. Fine, that might be true. But this movie is still hilarious. On the surface, it appears to be a very dumb comedy, but if you listen to John Turturro's constant string of dialogue, you'll realize that his insults are the most sharp-edged one-liners since Groucho died. Obviously it's not as good as any Marx Brothers comedies, but it's not bad either.
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What Groucho couldn't get away with...
J. Canker Huxley6 December 1998
Brain Donors is one of the Zucker brother's best kept secrets. Featuring a great cast, this film pays tribute to the Marx and Ritz brothers and slides in a few jokes that Groucho couldn't get away with.

This movie contains about 20 good laughs per minute and a finale that rivals "A Night at the Opera" in hilarity. Anyone that doesn't hurt from laughing at the end of this film is either cold-hearted or clinically brain dead.
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One of the most underrated movies of all time
rjp900018 June 2005
This is by far one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. John Turturro (one of my favorite actors) was hysterical. Bob Nelson and Mel Smith were great as well. I have a few of Dugan's movies. I love his work with Sandler and I also enjoyed Beverly Hills Ninja, but this movies blows them all way. Hollywood needs to make more silly slapstick films like this one. I believe a good Comedy needs 2 things. 1. The Comedy has to be consistent and 2. The Conclusion of the Movie has to be the funniest part of the movie. Brain Donors delivers well on both of these accounts. I also respect that this is a clean comedy (PG). Being able to make someone laugh now a days without the use of fowl language is remarkable. Without thinking twice this movie is a definite 10 out of 10
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If you like the Marx Brothers, you'll like Brain Donors
stankow22 November 1998
An obvious rip-off of the Marx Brothers' "Night at the Opera," but who cares? It was damn funny, with John Turturro playing the Groucho part to the hilt and the hilarious Bob Nelson doing a great Harpo, right down to the raincoat. A pity it bombed in theaters, but it makes a great "This one too" movie to rent -- an hour and a half you won't regret plopping on the couch and laughing your head off.
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The Marx Borthers reincarnated!
Animus21 April 1999
When I first saw the cover of the video tape for Brain Donors, I thought "Groan, it's some guys who think they can be the Marx Brothers". Then I watched it, and laughed till I choked. Yes they imitate the Marx Bros. BUT they do it well, John Turturro as Flakfizer is a perfect heir to the Firefly/Captain Spalding characters portrayed by the late Groucho. I hope someday there will be a sequel to Brain Donors, even if it is another remake.
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A Cult Movie--Really!!
duguidb15 October 2006
A short word on Brain Donors (1992): Get it. I don't even think it was featured for a full week at the cinemas, but it made cable and that's where I found it. It is truly a great fast talking Marx Brothers movie--but made fifty years later. John Turturro is Groucho, Mel Smith is an English Chico and Bob Nelson is not quite a mute Harpo. But that's all right, we needed a new Marx Brother movie anyhow, and these guys will do. It's truly a clone of "Night At The Opera" but dressed up nineties-style and ballet instead of opera. So get it anyway and be prepared to laugh. By the way it came from the group that did Naked Gun and Hot Shots! movies, so you will know what you are in for. Enjoy!
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If you have a sense of humor, you'll love this movie!
kelly-4513 February 1999
If you have a sense of humor, you'll love this movie! What a hoot! Yes, I love the Marx Bros, but they're dead. This is a remake of Night at the Opera, 90's style. You'll laugh till you weep....unless you're a critic and can't enjoy a funny movie. The cast is great and the dancing duck will slay you. Rent it, tape it, whatever. I guarantee!
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Funny ? Oh yes !
john_nielsen6 November 2004
I saw this movie for the first time today on danish TV. Who has hidden this gem in all these years. Most recommendable, if you are a Marx Brothers fan, and who isn't ? The one-liners are great and the story is ridiculous. I love this film. When is it released on DVD ? I'll be the first in the queue to buy it. The film is full of wacky scenes, the acting is brilliant, especially Margaret Dumont, (sorry Nancy Marchand) but you almost can't tell it's not good old Margaret. John Turturro is far away from Barton Fink here, but most certainly very good. Bob Nelson does a Harpo Marx like no one else but Harpo. If you haven't seen this movie, do it and do it NOW !
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This is one of the funniest movies ever
chris_severn4 April 2005
i can't believe the ratings this movie is getting. they should all be 10's!!!! this movie is absolutely one of my all time favorites. everyone i recommend it to loves it and i end up scrapping the internet trying to find a copy. i really believe that the only reason people don't care for this movie is because they don't have the brain capacity to see the funny in it. some of the funniest one-liners and catch phrases i have heard come from this movie. "i hope you like it, it reminds me of you." "WATCH OUT FOR THAT TRUCK!!!" and last but not least "A woman voted by her senior class, most likely to go up a few dress sizes"AAAAAHHHH .. i love that one. if you are looking for just a downright funny movie, this is it!! RENT IT, BUY IT .. Borrow it... I'll lend you mine. i've watched this movie more than a few dozen times and still gets funnier every time i see it. One review i read said that the movie shifts into Neutral .. what is that guy on .. this movie is 150% the whole way!!!
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So packed with humour, you need to watch it more than once!
ret-3319 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is most certainly a 'must-see' if you enjoy Marx Brothers type characters. My mother doesn't like slap-stick style comedy and didn't enjoy this movie at all, but my sons and I thought it was the greatest 'crack-up' ever! The innuendos, puns and visual comedy just keep rolling and I found something new each time I watched the movie. In one viewing, I'm listening to the amusing dialogue, but notice in the second viewing that there's something funny happening in the background.

There are a couple of scenes perhaps not suitable for young viewers without parental guidance, but my sons first watched and loved the show when they were about 12 ... and ten years on, are still enjoying watching it occasionally with friends who've not yet seen it.

Most people have never heard of the show, and when they hear 'Brain Donors', they think it's some sort of horror flick.

Spoiler: (Not really a spoiler, but thought it best to be safe) - Watch for the incident with the whoopee cushion ... it had my sons literally slapping their sides and rolling on the floor laughing.
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A hilarious homage
haildevilman6 November 2006
Would Marx brothers style humor stand up in a modern setting? In this case, yes.

No attempt was made to hide the obvious influence. That's in it's favor. A denial would have been insulting.

Turturro did Groucho perfectly. Snappy quips all over the place. And his name (Roland Flakfizer) was another connection.

Mel Smith had the Chico character down pat. Trade the Italian accent for a British one and ditch the piano playing, and there we are.

Bob Nelson, a VERY underrated comedian, did a semi-verbal Harpo. His act has always been physical and it fit perfectly here.

And Nancy Marchand did her best Margaret Dumont.

As good as the originals? Impossible. But still funny as hell. You can't watch it just once I bet.
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How does one not laugh at this film?
Rattrap00714 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you do not find this film funny check your pulse because you have got to be dead. You don't like a joke then wait 2 seconds and you find another. The jokes come fast and furious. This is a very great movie for one liners. The sight gags are hilarious too.

Roland is perfect as the ambulance chasing sleezeball lawyer. His rapid fire barbs dig into anyone within ear shot. Jauques is great for a quick line, but mostly for sight gags. Rocco is also a great with the quick lines.

One of my favorite sight gags is where Jauques pulls a laptop out of his coat. Then makes a few flips and the laptop has a big table. Then out of the table he pulls a monitor and printer and LCD light bar the shows stock quotes. He also pulls out a blow up doll. Rocco just says the line "We got years to go before we can even come close the the Japanese..." The ballet sequence at the end has a massive number of jokes in it, mostly visual. This is by far one of the funniest movies ever. Up there with Airplane and Naked Gun. This is sadly under appreciated.
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clubsideeditor24 May 2004
I will add "thanks" to all the users who have already praised this classic, add plead to Paramount for even a generic widescreen DVD release as my VHS gathers dust.

I saw this movie first in the theater, I went with a friend and at most there were a dozen other people there. Like many users, I laughed 'til I cried, and I am one loud obnoxious freak, wired on juvenile remarks, it must have been a spectacle. At least when I left the theater this became an issue, as my friend, who was mostly silent during the screening, said he didn't think it was that funny. I said the other people there were laughing, and he replied, "They weren't laughing at the movie you freak, that were laughing at you." I'll believe otherwise.

If you just want something funny, silly and fast, you gotta give "Brain Donors" a shot. The jokes overlap and are delivered so straight that it does require repeat viewing to catch the wonderful sight gags that are easily lost to laughing at the dialog so hard you cant see the screen.

Pat Proft, a writer who is certainly hit or miss, is really at the top of his game here, closer to "Bachelor Party" and "Hot Shots" than "Police Academy". And everyone has already cited Turturro, whose movements (chasing ambulances, sitting in chairs) are as classic as his delivery.

So watch it, and Paramount, release it, I'm ready to buy (again).
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Funniest Movie Ever Made.
KNWO10 December 1998
Brain Donors is the funniest movie I have ever seen and I'v seen about 400 movies in my lifetime. This movie is funny even after seeing it 5 times. It makes fun of society in general and exaggerating on flaws in society. If you're looking for a funny movie rent this.
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"Brain Donors"- One of the great underrated films of the 90's. A fantastically funny and silly throwback feature!
MaximumMadness7 November 2017
The story of the underrated comedy gem "Brain Donors" is quite a fascinating tale indeed. Conceived as a throwback tribute to old- school comedy acts such as the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges, the film was an early effort for writer Pat Proft and director Dennis Dugan, whom worked under the supervision of the wildly famous Zucker Brothers. A cast of talented comedic actors was assembled and the filming commenced under the original working title "Lame Ducks", with the bulk of the plot being very loosely inspired by the classic Marx Brothers comedy "A Night at the Opera."

Then a series of troubling developments ensued, casting the fate of the film into uncertainty. The Zucker Brothers had a falling out with studio Paramount and walked from the project during production, and Paramount responded by purposely changing the film's title at the last moment and tanking the marketing in a ploy for retribution. "Lame Ducks"- now known as "Brain Donors"- bombed at the box office as a result, and was quickly forgotten by film-goers... until its later home-video release eventually found an audience thanks to positive word-of-mouth.

And it's a very good thing that it eventually found an audience. While not a particularly great film by any stretch, the fact remains that "Brain Donors" is a thoroughly endearing, charming and indeed laugh- out-loud hilarious tale that hearkens back to the glory-days of cinema, and the creativity that went into its production deserves all the recognition it could possibly get.

After the death of famed philanthropist Oscar Winterhaven Oglethorpe, a ballet company is set to be founded in the name of his widow Lillian, played by Nancy Marchand. And Lillian's (literal) ambulance-chasing attorney Roland T. Flakfizer (John Turturro), along with his knucklehead associates Jacques (Bob Nelson) and Rocco (Mel Smith), want in on a slice of the action, putting them at odds with the company's slimy, power- hungry director Edmund Lazlo. (John Savident) All the while, the three are also drawn into other assorted shenanigans and comedic mishaps, including attempting to secure a spot for their friends Lisa (Juliana Donald) and Alan (Spike Alexander) in the act.

At a lean 79 minutes, the film is an incredibly efficient comedic powerhouse, packing in the jokes fast and loose at a constant pace. Turturro, Nelson and late and great Smith make for a tremendous trio of likable doofuses, and all get key defining features and moments to shine. Turturro being the fast-talking and neurotic schmoozer, Nelson being a hapless and well-meaning oaf with an obsession towards gadgets, and Smith being a brash and volatile dope who sometimes can't keep his mouth shut. They compliment each other very well and have a great sense of chemistry. It honestly is a genuine shame we never got to see the three together again as these characters... I'd have loved to have seen them thrown into more stories.

Visually, the film is very interesting, with director Dugan giving it all a certain sense of hyper-reality, which I think was an attempt to emulate the glitz and glamour of classic Hollywood comedies. It doesn't quite work in that sense, but it does help to usher the audience into the cartoonish madness that ensues, and it does the job well. I also really got a kick out of the use of stop-motion claymation for the credits, which was a really nice touch. The script by Proft is also really well structured, with the plot being used wisely to set up skits and scenarios to see our three leads make the worst out of. Dialog is played quick and loaded with subtle jokes, gags and double- entendres... you could watch the film a dozen times and still find new laughs that you never noticed before.

It really is a tragedy to watch the film and know the backstory and what could have been had it been given a fair change. It's brutally funny and extremely cleverly assembled. I actually had to pause it several times just so I could catch my breath between cackles. Sure, the run-time is a bit too short, some of the jokes are a bit disturbing and it's not gonna change your life... but it's darned entertaining and well-worth checking out. And I can't help but give it my highest of recommendations to fans of all things funny. I give "Brain Donors" a very good 8 out of 10.
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Funny, but not original. Or not original, but funny
Ana_Banana24 May 2014
I won't repeat the obvious, but for kids who still don't know the unique original, this really is a hilarious movie: great comedic actors, brilliant dialog, excellent physical comedy, although a bit too cartoon-like and hard to believe in places. All in all, it's a fine, zany entertainment, sort of the Marx brothers for the 90s.

Of course, when you know the original, it's not quite the same. Still funny, but it plays too hard on the remake note. Maybe if they had only transplanted the style and not the plot or even some scenes (who could ever dare to re-do or even to allude to the contract scene or the stateroom scene), it would have been really great.
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An affectionate and hilarious tribute to the Brothers Marx
LPCDwoman22 November 2006
Whether or not you have ever seen a Marx Brothers movie, BRAIN DONORS will make you laugh out loud. Writer Pat Proft, Director Dennis Dugan and head wackos the Zucker Brothers have crafted a tribute to the kings of anarchic comedy. Specifically modeled on A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, John Turturro has the Groucho part, Bob Nelson has Harpo (and he gets to talk!), British comic Mel Smith has Chico, Nancy Marchand takes Margaret Dumont's role, and everyone has a grand time. It's lightning fast, furious and very, very funny. BRAIN DONORS came on the tail end of the AIRPLANE-inspired comedies of the Eighties, so not very many people saw it in theaters the first time around. Fortunately, we now have it on DVD. Enjoy!
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Greatest Movie
wickedgarden5010 May 2006
This movie could have found three better actors to play these roles and too compliment the Marx Brothers foundation. This movie is a pure version of Slapstick comedy and John Turturro is one of the better unnoticed actors in the past 20 years. Please see this movie, script and acting was brilliant. These three actors should reunite for a sequel or for another project. Rest in Peace Nancy Merchand because she played an excellent Lillian and once again my hates off to these three men. John Turturro can play just about any role given to him but this role i feel was his best to date. Mel Smith is one of Englands legendary comedians and he rocked the house with his character. I feel he represented Chico Marx to possible T. Bob Nelson paid excellent tribute to Harpo Marx. They may have been copying some legendary comedians but they brought their own flavor to these characters and this movie is just so underrated.
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She looked 14 officer I swear!!!
cdols17 February 2004
Ever since I saw this movie about eight years ago, I have yet to come across another comedy that even comes close to being as funny and well written. John Turturro should've won an oscar for his performance as Roland T. Flackfizer...the greatest movie character of all-time. From the opening clay-mation to the ending credits, every second of this movie is a laugh. Even Alan Grant's horrible acting is funny. I have seen this movie so many times and I know everything about it.
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Greatest Movie ever
Ricksastar12 February 2004
It truly is the smartest, funniest and most clever writing for a movie I have ever seen. I'm a Film graduate student and have studied for over 8 years. I know a lot of people have not seen this film and I encourage them to see it.It is now on DVD!!! I am pretty sure that I know every single line to this movie. I am not sure if that is sad? or if it is dedication to a great movie. Watch this movie with a bunch of friends and have a few drinks, I promise that it will be a good time.

"Got a Dental plan?" "Loose a tooth get one free" "A happy Dr. is a Good Dr."

See this movie and not Ocean's Twelve
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Finest work of Zucker Bros. style slapstick - A must-see!
rozumek14 April 2001
The timing of which the gags in this remake of a Marx Bros. film is better than any comedy I've seen. It's undoubtedly the best pice of the entire Zucker Bros. collection. This film has a a curve rising throughout and climaxing in the ballet the gags come so fast after eachother you simply have't time to laugh at them all. Our company of 7 left 4 on the floor virtually rolling around laughing while the others remaned seated just crying with laughter. This is a must-see if you like the Marx Bros or Flying High. Enjoy!
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