Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Best Defense (1984)

Dudley Moore Movie #9 [Believe it or not, this film predicted an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait six years before the 1990-91 Gulf War] 

Synopsis: Lazy-and-lecherous engineer, and cowardly-and-incompetent Army officer leech off the American war machine. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “If you’re out to build the ultimate Super Tank / Super Weapon, and you find out Dudley Moore has something to do with designing the missile guidance system, you’ve got to be concerned. Then, when you find out Eddie Murphy is going to test the tank in an actual combat situation, you ought to forget about it all together.” 

What Did I Learn?: Mutual funds are the worst, you should never pass up the opportunity to take a piss, and um...another nugget of wisdom I'm not going to repeat on this blog. 

You Might Like This Movie If: You really want to see Eddie and Dudley sell out for big money.
Really?: So, wait - the very first time Lieutenant Landry (Murphy) drives the Super Tank is during its official introduction to the Kuwaitis? Wouldn't his superiors want him to know that tank like the back of his hand before letting him loose at such a function? 

Rating: Best Defense is one of those films – much like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World – that I quite enjoyed as a kid, but I can’t get into as an adult (mind you, it’s not nearly as bad as the movie’s critics – which includes Murphy himself – claim). Eddie and Dudley do their best with the material, but Murphy’s role consists of him getting hysterical and shouting at his Kuwaiti tank crew, while Wylie Cooper (Moore) is a little too sleazy and dishonest to be all that likeable. Oh, watch for David Rasche in a  pre-Sledge Hammer appearance as a whacked-out-of-his-mind Soviet agent – he’s great. 6/10 stars.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Micki and Maude (1984)

Dudley Moore Movie #8

Synopsis: It’s basically two hours of Dudley Moore telling highly implausible lies, followed by a grand finale of him running around like a lunatic inside a busy hospital. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Dudley Moore and director Blake Edwards are reunited in this laugh-packed romp about a lovable bigamist.” [“Lovable bigamist!”] 

What Did I Learn?: Nobody looks good in green. 


Really?: 1) I realize Rob (Moore) is supposed to be a funny and charming guy, so it’s within the realm of possibility that he could seduce and marry two attractive women, but this story would have been a tad more believable if Amy Irving and Ann Reinking didn’t tower over him. 2) So, we’re supposed to believe that Micki and Maude not only chose the same obstetrician, but they scheduled overlapping appointments on the same day, and they somehow give birth simultaneously at the same hospital? 

Rating: Micki and Maude is a slightly-too-long, and highly contrived farce (see: “Synopsis” and “Really?”) that nevertheless delivers several good laughs. It's a lot of silly fun, if you're in the mood to park your brain at the door. Rob Salinger could have been a highly unlikeable character, but Moore makes him sympathetic, and he enjoys some good chemistry with Irving and Reinking. Oh, and watch for Andre the Giant and a few other early-1980s wrestling stars in some minor roles. 6.5/10 stars.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Blame it on the Bellboy (1992)

Dudley Moore Movie #7

Synopsis: Hilarity ensues when British tourists run afoul of world’s shittiest hotel concierge.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: "In the wildly entertaining spirit of A Fish Called Wanda, Blame It On The Bellboy delivers this year’s craziest laughs!" ["In the wildly entertaining spirit?" This movie is almost nothing like A Fish Called Wanda...]

What Did I Learn?: 1) “Lawton”, “Orton” and “Horton” all sound pretty similar when they’re spoken in an thick Italian accent. 2) The Brits refer to sex as "rumpy-bumpy."

Really?: 1) Wow - take a drink every time Dudley Moore is either verbally abused by his boss, or tortured by the mafia. It gets a little tough to watch after awhile. 2) Hmm...the entire premise of this movie is that the bellboy (Bronson Pinchot) keeps giving the wrong messages to three sets of hotel guests, and nobody ever once says: "hey wait, this isn't right."

Rating: Blame it on the Bellboy is a mildly amusing farce that's highly contrived, doesn't contain much substance and isn't terribly memorable (which is not surprising, considering it's only 79 minutes long). While I liked Richard Griffiths' interactions with Patsy Kensit, Bryan Brown isn't given much to do, and Pinchot (as usual) wildly overacts. Check it out if you're in the mood for something silly, or if you want to see a bit of Venice. 6/10 stars.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"10" (1979)

Dudley Moore Movie #6

Synopsis: Cuddly Dudley somehow makes stalking seem charming and adorable.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: "What happens when you run into a perfect 10? If it's Blake Edwards' spicy comedy of manners, morals and mid-life crises, you're in luck."

What Did I Learn?: It's not a good idea to make a bunch of phone calls immediately after undergoing dental surgery.

You Might Like This Movie If: You'll watch any bad movie that features Bo Derek. [Holy crap - Donald Trump acted in this clip!]

Really?: 1) Wait - George (Moore) has an opportunity to bang Bo Derek and he walks out of her hotel room? Come on... 2) See: "Synopsis". I mean, the entire movie revolves around a burnt-out older guy stalking a young bride. That's a little creepy.  3) So, George crashes his car into a police cruiser when his driver's license is suspended, he's warned that he's going to need a lawyer, and... the incident is never again mentioned.

Rating: When he wasn't making Pink Panther films, Blake Edwards released a slew of narcissistic, and rather self-indulgent movies about morally-challenged men experiencing mid-life crises (see my reviews of The Man Who Loved Women, and That's Life), and "10"is a perfect example. Still, in spite of a rather unlikeable protagonist, and a less-than-stellar script, "10" has some funny moments, and it is a cut above Edwards' later flops. 6.5/10 stars.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Wrong Box (1966)

Dudley Moore Movie #5 (Actually, this is much more of a Michael Caine film, and even he has third billing behind John Mills and Ralph Richardson)

Synopsis: Tontines are nothing but trouble.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: "A huge inheritance ignites a murderous family feud in this hilarious adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale."

What Did I Learn?: 1) See: “Synopsis”. 2) The tontine was named after Lorenzo Tonti, a Neapolitan banker.

Really?: See: “Synopsis” and “What Did I Learn?” Seriously, who would actually pay a large sum of money and then enter their child into such a sick and twisted arrangement, considering there’s only a one-in-thirty chance of it paying off for the kid, and he would probably be too old to enjoy the money, anyway?

Rating: The Wrong Box is a cleverly-written black comedy that features a most impressive cast, including the aforementioned Caine, Moore, Mills and Richardson, as well as a memorable cameo by Peter Sellers as a very sleazy Victorian doctor. Check it out if you get the chance. 8/10 stars.