Review Date: December 04, 2002
Director: Harold Ramis
Writer: Peter Steinfeld, Harold Ramis, Peter Tolan
Producers: Jane Rosenthal, Paula Weinstein
Robert De Niro
Tough guy mobster Paul Vitti fakes his way out of prison and back into the life of his tranquil shrink, only to find himself forced to leave the mafia and into a "regular" job. After a few failed attempts, his psychiatrist gets him a job as a consultant on a popular mob-based TV show, but it isn't long before actual wise guys start snooping around and Paul must decide if he's going to stick to the life of an average nobody (just another "schnook") or the life of a mafia kingpin.
I don't think anyone is gonna go into this picture expecting anything more than your basic rehash of many of the same characters, jokes and situations from the original surprise hit, and I suppose if that's what you're looking for, you might enjoy some of these festivities, but for someone like me...someone who likes sequels to take a few more chances, build on the success of their originals and attempt to carve out something special of their own (see ALIENS, T2, BLADE 2, etc...), this flick is a disappointment. Having said that, I did actually find myself guffawing quite a bit through its first 20 minutes or so, with various amusing circumstances involving DeNiro being slapped, DeNiro trying out new jobs and DeNiro swearing and nailing a "broad" in Crystal's house. Unfortunately, once things settled, the movie seemed to go through the motions, with jokes far and few between and an over-the-top heist conclusion that felt about as inspired as I do to have sex after my one-man-shuffles. Now either they ran out of jokes, they didn't have enough time to invest in an actual story or the material itself has been played out in so many different ways already (Sopranos anyone?), that the cow simply does not have any milk left to spare. The sad part is that the film really did hit some kind of stride early on with some of the "fish out of water" sequences with DeNiro really bringing out mucho humor with him playing up his "mob" persona to a friggin' tee. But they barely touch on the hilarity that they might've been able to juice out of all that ("Did you know that they take taxes out of your paycheck?") and leave us dangling with only two or three small examples (the whole car salesman thing could have been explored much further-the TV show thing is played out, guys).
The film also stoops down to rehashing some of the exact same lines from the original ("You, you...") and for me...they played about as well as Mike Myers' "shwing" would today. But I don't want to make it sound like the movie is a total waste, because it really isn't all that bad. It's got a handful of funny moments early on, the outtakes during the end credits are a gas (but is that a good thing?), the TV show director has some comical turns and even Crystal pulls off a few funnies here and there. Another good thing is that Lisa Kudrow is barely used (thank you, God...there's only so much of her damn Phoebe character that I can take in any movie!) and Anthony LaPaglia is decent as the Australian-Italian guy. The story does suck though and pretty much any scene involving Cathy Moriarty felt dead. Not sure why. The film's editing also seemed pretty choppy (and I rarely notice those types of things), and the soundtrack, not one bit as memorable as its original. All in all, I would recommend that anyone who enjoyed the first movie check this out...on video, and only if you're looking for fluffy entertainment, but otherwise, don't waste your time, especially if you're hoping to get involved in the story or be overwhelmed by one joke after another. No rat-tat-tat here, folks...and certainly nothing worthy of a sequel in the first place...unless of course...everybody was in it for the money! Uhhhhmm, but people aren't like that...are they? Sigh. Biodegradable sequel...coming up!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian