How this movie became known as a quintessential flop is quite beyond me. Then again, when I consider some of the movies that have garnered "best picture" Academy Awards, the whole flawed process of rating movies becomes clear. There is simply no accounting for taste. For example, consider that, the overlong, pretentious, and painfully boring, Chariots of Fire, actually WON the Best Picture award, and yet all the film gave me (and MANY others) was a bad headache. To each his own.
So, on to my review. I never saw this picture when it debut in 1991, but I clearly recall watching its HBO premiere. I found it to be one of the finest examples of really dark comedy that I had ever seen. The wonderful serendipitous circumstances which allowed Mr. Ackroyd to secure the services of top notch talent like Moore and Chase only served to make the movie seem all the more "believable" and satisfying. I'm sure that all of the headliner performers felt like their agents had consigned them to apply their considerable talents to, what can only be described as, the "circle of hell" that Dante might have envisioned for the bloated egos of self-aggrandizing film stars. The look on Chase's face when he imagines the judge's nose transformed into a penis is so authentic that I was convulsed with laughter. And who can forget that priceless card game between Demi Moore and the delightful "Little Devil and BoBo." Surely Ms. Moore has experienced similar feelings while surrounded by adoring male fans queuing up to the very edge of Hollywood's famed red carpet.
What makes this film even more of a gem is that we, as the audience, KNOW that this was probably not what the actors believed that they had signed up for. It plays as humorously as if, say, Lawrence Olivier had been contracted to star as "Mr. Hand" in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. To their credit, all of the actors are in fine form, and do deliver their very best to the insane plot and dialog. And that, in a nutshell, is why this film belongs on any film buff's "must see" list. It's not "Hamlet," but it delivers solid (if extremely dark) comedic entertainment.
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