USA, 2000. Rated PG-13. 87 minutes.
Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Reynolds, Dan Hedaya, Seymour Cassel, Carrie-Anne
Moss, Jennifer Tilly, Lainie Kazan, Miguel Sandoval, Jeremy Piven, Casey
|Grade: D||Review by Carlo Cavagna|
K, who wants leftovers? There's still some turkey in the freezer from last Thanksgiving. There's also last week's meatloaf; it's only just a little moldy. Or we can pull Goodfellas and Grumpy Old Men off the shelf, stir them up, and reheat them in a microwave for five minutes. The result is Grumpy Oldfellas, a.k.a. The Crew, a warmed-over comedy about the Mob. Hey, you've seen these jokes only a hundred times before.
From the opening moments, The Crew is a groaner, just as from the opening moments Goodfellas is a classic. Aping Goodfellas for what it hopes is comic effect, The Crew begins with Richard Dreyfuss waxing nostalgic in an awful fake Joisey accent about the good old days of his youth when he and his "crew" used to run things for the Mob. There's Joey "Bats" (Burt Reynolds), whose weapon of choice is a baseball bat (thus begetting his nickname). There's Mike "The Brick" (Dan Hedaya), who has found an outlet for his creative side as a makeup artist at the local morgue. I think the horrendously garish results of his work are supposed to be hilarious. There's Tony "The Mouth" (Seymour Cassel), who doesn't speak. (Get it? "The Mouth" doesn't speak! What clever irony!) And there's Dreyfuss as the informal leader, Bobby Bartellemeo. All the actors are playing characters 15 or 20 years older. Only Seymour Cassel, who is about 65, could pass for 75. Burt Reynolds looks particularly out of place in this movie. Although he is sixty and wears a tribble on his head, he's still too solidly built and good-looking even to think about playing an octogenarian working in a fast food restaurant.
The kvetching foursome are spending their retirement in Miami Beach, but the beautiful and hip are encroaching on their space. Developers want to tear down the retirement home and replace it with something more "today." The cranky crew devises a plan to scare everyone off by faking a mob hit. They steal the body of a John Doe from the morgue where Mike works. Then they blow a hole in him with a shotgun and plant the body in the lobby of their building. But get this: the John Doe is the father of a Colombian drug lord, played by Miguel Sandoval (Clear and Present Danger), who apparently is listed in Central Casting under "Colombian drug lord." Of course, the drug kingpin doesn't realize that his father was murdered after he was already dead, so he is now hellbent on revenge. Oh, what zaniness!
That's not all. There's a subplot involving Jennifer Tilly as a hooker/stripper (gee, more creativity on the part of the casting director) who wants her mean old lady offed. This serves to introduce her not-mean-at-all old lady (Lainie Kazan, one of the few bright spots in the film) as a romantic interest for the lovably wacky old guys. As a second subplot, we've got Carrie-Anne Moss and her smarmy ex-boyfriend Jeremy Piven as the cops assigned to investigate the supposed murder. Moss is way too serious for this material–she should abandon comedy and keep her sci-fi babe day job. By the way, did I mention that Bobby longs to find his long-lost daughter whom he knows nothing about? I'll give you one guess who that daughter is. Hint: she's not a hooker with an adenoidal voice, and she looks awfully good in skin-tight latex.
What more can I say about The Crew? The lame plot speaks for itself. Sprinkled in is the usual repertoire of old people jokes involving sex, medical problems, and so forth. If you've got an appetite for humor of this nature, why not just re-rent Grumpy Old Men? Or if you prefer, you may derive equal enjoyment (and save money) by running your tongue over a cheese grater for 87 minutes. Eschew The Crew.
© October 2000 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
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