6.9/10
22,321
121 user 51 critic

The Ref (1994)

A cat burglar is forced to take a bickering, dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve.

Director:

Ted Demme

Writers:

Marie Weiss (story), Richard LaGravenese (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,477 ( 972)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denis Leary ... Gus
Judy Davis ... Caroline
Kevin Spacey ... Lloyd
Robert J. Steinmiller Jr. ... Jesse
Glynis Johns ... Rose
Raymond J. Barry ... Huff
Richard Bright ... Murray
Christine Baranski ... Connie
Adam LeFevre ... Gary
Phillip Nicoll Phillip Nicoll ... John
Ellie Raab Ellie Raab ... Mary
Bill Raymond ... George
John Scurti ... Steve
Jim Turner ... Phil
Herbie Ade Herbie Ade ... Bartender
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Storyline

Denis Leary plays an unfortunate cat burglar, who is abandonded by his partner in the middle of a heist, and is forced to take an irritating Connecticut couple (Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis) hostage. He soon finds that he took more than he bargained for when the couple's blackmailing son and despicable in-laws step into the picture. Before long they're driving him nuts with their petty bickering and family problems. The only way for him to survive is to be their referee and resolve their differences, before he can be nabbed by the police. Written by Nick D. <ndoherty@imt.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They might be his hostages but what they're doing to this guy is criminal. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ref See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,044,097, 13 March 1994

Gross USA:

$11,439,193

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,439,193
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

One of two films in which Kevin Spacey plays the husband in a failing marriage. The other was American Beauty five years later. See more »

Goofs

At one point while in the car after taking Lloyd and Caroline hostage, tail lights disappear behind Gus in the rear view window. See more »

Quotes

Caroline: Did you know you're bleeding?
Gus: Oh, yeah.
Lloyd: Were you shot?
Gus: Dog bit me
Caroline: What dog?
Gus: Willard's dog.
Caroline: Cannibal bit you?
Gus: His name is Cannibal?
See more »


Soundtracks

Adeste Fidelis
Lyrics by Frederick Oakeley (uncredited) and music by John Reading (uncredited)
Arranged by Nat 'King' Cole & Edith Bergdahl
Performed by Nat 'King' Cole
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from CEMA Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Kevin Spacey & Denis Leary = Black Comedy Gold!!
24 June 2013 | by AndrewamphlettSee all my reviews

Brief storyline of the film, the plot idea is relatively simple; Denis Leary plays Gus a professional burglar who after a foiled robbery seeks to make good his escape by taking married couple Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur hostage. Lloyd (played by Kevin Spacey) and Caroline (played by Judy Davis) are however going through something of a marriage crisis and poor old Gus ends up playing referee between the two warring factions of this married couple. Add in a delinquent son, a mother-in-law of humongous bitchy proportions and a drunken Santa Claus and let the mayhem begin! I have to say that the interplay between Learn, Spacey and Davis is simply fantastic with the machinegun like dialogue whizzing back and forth between them, my favourite quote from the film is Leary's character and he said "From now on, the only person who gets to yell is me. Why? Because I have a gun. People with guns get to do whatever they want. Married people without guns - for instance - you - DO NOT get to yell. Why? NO GUNS! No guns, no yelling. See? Simple little equation." The black humour of the film is just brilliant and it's actually what you would expect from Kevin Spacey and Denis Leary film with past films like "Swimming with Sharks" With likewise the stingingly cruel comments from the mother-in-law from hell are a real hoot, as is the bumbling capers of the town's less than competent police force. What makes the film work on another level though is that the arguments and disagreements that have the family at each other's throats are not contrived or unbelievable. Both husband and wife put forward extremely credible points of view that I'm sure having cropped up in the minds of most viewers. This gives the film a lovely poignancy and all that more enjoyable.

Overall, I found this a very funny movie. Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey bounce off each other hilariously, and I found Denis Leary's character just brilliant (and is now one of my favourite comedian) The script is original, the humour is dry, sarcastic and 'laugh out loud' good for a black-comedy so Great stuff!


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