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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An 80's comedy time capsule!
I hope everyone didn't forget that Bette Midler was the highest grossing female film star of the 80's! This is the classic that will prove how she got the attention. This was released after Down And Out In Beverly Hills which brought Bette back into popularity at the movies. In fact, Down... is probably considered her funniest movie. I think Ruthless outshines all her...
Published on November 11, 2000 by Alan Russo

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars After the wait for this to be issued on DVD...
...where are all the bonus features? At bare minimum, where's the remastering? My two stars obviously do not reflect on how witty, how clever, or how entertaining this film is. Midler especially is at her pinnacle as a privileged and overbearing socialite wife, and Reinhold and Slater are perfectly dimwitted--but not as perfect as Pullman. The sole criticism I might have...
Published on May 14, 2002 by Dana C. Steinman


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An 80's comedy time capsule!, November 11, 2000
By 
Alan Russo (Cambridge, MA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ruthless People [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I hope everyone didn't forget that Bette Midler was the highest grossing female film star of the 80's! This is the classic that will prove how she got the attention. This was released after Down And Out In Beverly Hills which brought Bette back into popularity at the movies. In fact, Down... is probably considered her funniest movie. I think Ruthless outshines all her comedies. It's sooo 80's, too! Scene after scene, this movie moves along with no time to be bored. Acting is perfect by all. Although Danny and Bette are never seen together until the end, they look so cute together. Danny Devito wants his abrasive wife kidnaped! Judge Reinhold had his multi million dollar idea stolen from Devito. Devito's mistress wants his money. And did I mention the serial killer? Very funny! I hope this will soon be re-released on DVD!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ruthless Comedy!, September 8, 2002
By 
Michael Crane (Orland Park, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ruthless People (DVD)
It's about time that "Ruthless People" is finally out to own on DVD. I remember seeing this movie when I was really little, and I loved every minute. Now, almost 21 years old, I was able to get all of the little jokes that I didn't get when I was little. This is still a favorite, doesn't matter how old the movie is. "Ruthless People" is a laugh-riot that will leave you begging for more!
Millionaire Sam Stone hates his wife. How much? Enough that he is prepared to kill her. But when he gets home and is ready to do the deed, his wife, Barbara, is nowhere to be found. Instead, he gets a phone call from kidnappers who threaten to kill her if he does not pay the ransom. So what does Sam do? He celebrates!!! The movie and plot gets twisted and funnier as the minutes roll by.
The cast is terrific; including Danny DeVito, Judge Reinhold, Helen Slater, and Bette Midler. They are hillarious in this evil and twisting comedy. DeVito really steals the show and is absolutley hillarious.
The DVD, I admit, is quite poor. There is litterally no special features at all. Picture is good, not great. But keep in mind, that this is an old movie. For it being such an old movie, the picture looks pretty good. Even though the DVD isn't the best, I don't care. I just wanted the movie, that's all. And that's what I got. Doesn't matter to me if there are special features or not on this one.
"Ruthless People" is a cult classic and a terrific comedy that abandons the routine boring formula. It takes risks, it's well-written, and it is still one of the funniest movies out on the market today. Check this one out when you can.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Now THAT oughta do it!!!!", December 7, 2002
This review is from: Ruthless People (DVD)
Right from the start, Ruthless People has several things going for it. First of all, the plot is hilarious.
Sam Stone (Danny De Vito) is the disgruntled husband of heiress Bette Midler. Sam has a nice stack of cash of his own, yet, like the greedy man he is, he wants more. And there is only one way to get it. Kill off his rich wife. He has it all planned out. Yet little does he know that there are two people out there who will inadvertently do him a favor by kidnapping his wife and, if he won't pay off the ransom, they'll kill her for him. So all Sam has to do now is sit back and wait. There is only one problem. These kidnappers, while they claim to be "ruthless people", are really a couple of softies who, when they see a bug in their house, will scoop it up and place it gently outside the door. When they threaten to kill Mrs. Stone, they hardly mean what they say. Half the fun of watching this movie is seeing the scenes where Sam is on the phone with the kidnappers, seething because they are willing to give him chance after chance to get them the money, even after several stubborn refusals.
Bette Midler, as Sam Stone's wife, is very funny in her role as hostage, and Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater do a great job as her captors. The performances are the second thing this movie has going for it. But it is really Danny De Vito who ultimately makes this movie all it is.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars After the wait for this to be issued on DVD..., May 14, 2002
This review is from: Ruthless People (DVD)
...where are all the bonus features? At bare minimum, where's the remastering? My two stars obviously do not reflect on how witty, how clever, or how entertaining this film is. Midler especially is at her pinnacle as a privileged and overbearing socialite wife, and Reinhold and Slater are perfectly dimwitted--but not as perfect as Pullman. The sole criticism I might have for the film's content is DeVito's typical performance, but it fits so snuggly into the plot his predictability is excused. My low rating is merely for the extremely poor quailty of the picture this DVD has to offer. It is no better--no clearer, no more pristine--than the VHS cassette I've had for 10+ years and has been viewed and rewound countless times. I thought for sure that such a terrific film would lend itself so exactly to star commentary, remastering, and perhaps a few minutes of deleted scenes. This is the equivalent of an old and scratchy LP being directly burned to CD and issued as is.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Hilarious Satire, August 19, 2004
This review is from: Ruthless People (DVD)
Ruthless People is the perfect star vehicle for Bette Midler. Colorful, hilarious, and extremely dated, this is a sick, twisted, and enjoyable romp with an all-star cast and truly surprising results. It's masterful how all the characters interweave, creating more and more hilarious subplots. To say any more will ruin the fun; it has to be seen to be believed. This is an overlooked gem that has an intricate plotline supported by sharp jokes. They certainly don't make em like this anymore. This film deserves to be a modern classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hilarious comedy classic, May 18, 2002
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This review is from: Ruthless People [VHS] (VHS Tape)
She is Barbara Stone, a fat, loudmouthed, obnoxious, no-class Hollywood wife. He is Sam Stone, a pint-size slimeball who gets rich off stealing others' ideas. Only this time, he's stolen from the wrong person, a gentle housewife named Sandy Kessler, whose enraged husband, Ken, is about to fix the slimeball's wagon once and for all. How better than by kidnapping Sam's wife and holding her for ransom? Trouble is, Sam hates his wife because he's cavorting with his mistress Carol (who in turn is cheating on him with another man), and sees the kidnap threat as a heaven-sent way of getting rid of his wife. Send the ransom? You gotta be kidding. Why go through a messy divorce when you can be a bereaved widower with a fat bank account? Bette Midler is an absolute riot as Barbara Stone, trusting in her husband to deliver her from the kidnappers' benign clutches until she is brought up short when she finds out what a dirtbag he really is; Danny DeVito oozes sleaziness as her loathsome husband Sam, and Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater are a twin delight as the sorriest pair of kidnappers on the planet. The movie is a laugh riot from the crazy opening credits to the inspired ending. It's 80's comedy at its best.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ruthlessly Funny, February 9, 2004
This review is from: Ruthless People [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Sam Stone only married his wife, Barbara, for her money. Now he's anxious to get rid of her. Before he can do the deed, though, someone does him a huge favor by kidnapping her. What could be better? All he has to do is not pay the ransom and his problem is solved. Barbara's bungling kidnappers find themselves stuck with a worthless hostage.
RUTHLESS PEOPLE is a very funny movie. It's well plotted, well acted and keeps you laughing all the way. While not quite a classic, it was one of the top comedies of the mid-80's and resurrected Bette Midler's movie career. My only caution is that this is definitely NOT a movie for kids. Crude language is scattered throughout and there is some blatantly sexual material. While it might offend a few people, it's pretty mild by current standards. You could see almost as much in a Super Bowl halftime show.
I've liked RUTHLESS PEOPLE ever since I first saw it at the theater. It's a first-rate adult comedy. If you'd like some laughs, this is a good choice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical, and satisfying, May 25, 2007
By 
Geoff Puterbaugh (Chiang Mai, T. Suthep, A. Muang Thailand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ruthless People (DVD)
For my money, this is one of the funniest movies Hollywood ever made. It starts out funny, and continues funny, right up to the end, when you realize that the good guys have won.

The entire cast: magnificent.

If you want to sit around feeling glum tonight, DON'T WATCH "RUTHLESS PEOPLE!!!" :-) :-)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cult Classic Movie, January 4, 2007
By 
Sooner Matt (Oklahoma City, OK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ruthless People (DVD)
This movie is wrong on so many levels, which is why I love it. It's not so much "dark comedy" as much as it's just funny. About a rich guy who wants his wife dead and the incompetent kidnappers who can't understand why the husband is pushing them. Add to that the rich guys lover and her other boyfriend who, as the cop describes in the movie "this may very well be the stupidest man on the face of the planet; perhaps we should just shot him." Great cast, great writing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars My only regret, Carol, is that the plan isn't more violent., September 27, 2004
By 
This review is from: Ruthless People (DVD)
Did I like Ruthless People? That is a tough question and just like every good story, there are two sides. On the positive side, I miss this type of comedy in cinema today. I miss the physical humor, the goofiness, and the instant creativity that could be seen behind the camera. In today's movie world, this is normally cluttered with "fart" jokes and sexual innuendo. I miss the comedies of the 80s; there was some innocence to them. Perhaps it was that warm fuzzy feeling that they always left you with (no matter if you were rooting for the bad guy or the good guy) or maybe it was the actors of that era. The youth of today do not have actors like Danny DeVito (who can now be found most of the time producing films), Bette Midler, Bill Pullman (pre-Independence Day), and especially the infamous Judge Reinhold. What would my generation be like without the shenanigans of Judge? His humor was so perfect that if I were going to make a movie today, he would be cast no matter what. I would also like to add that Danny DeVito was superb in this film. His ability to play the ruthless, soulless, anti-hero was amazing. He had me grinning from ear to ear whenever he was on screen.

Another great aspect was the stories. They were simple, yet imaginative. They were stupid, yet somewhat funny. They were incoherent, yet always ended on a happy note. Look at the story behind Ruthless People and look at the stories in today's modern cinema ... see any similarities? I surely do not. There was something just plain 80s about the standoff scene with Reinhold, DeVito, and Pullman that could not be done the same today. There would be CGI or unmasking, or anything that would detract from the main focus of this film ... the actors. Films of this era were focused on the actors, that is what sold the movie and made it popular. Today, I wish we could say the same. Now it is all about the CGI and the explosions. It is very rare that you find a very actor centered comedy and for this I will forever be sad.

As I stated above, there are two sides to every story. While I did enjoy the actors in this film and the imagination, there was something that tugged me the wrong way and that was story overloading. There was too much happening in this film. I totally disliked the side story with the Bedroom killer. I honestly felt as if this could have (and should have) been left out of this film. In a 93 minute film, there was just too much happening. I didn't feel as if everything had a conclusion. There were parts still floating up in the air when the final credits rolled. Carol and Pullman's scenes were important in moving the story, but I didn't feel they ever finalized anything. The problem that you run into when you try to push this much into 93 minutes is under developing some possible funny parts. I could have used some pre-story on the Kesslers and even some more information on the random killer. The quickness of this film also lead to a quick ending for DeVito when I was finally starting to see the brilliance behind his character.

I say this, but perhaps this is what the 80s comedy was all about. An undeveloped story coupled with amazing comedic actors make for a decent film. Possibly, but it still doesn't make Ruthless People rank up there with the likes of Ghostbusters and Quick Change.

Overall, this was a decent film. I first thought that it wasn't the greatest, but the ending knocked it up a notch. The DVD quality really wasn't the best, but I guess we are more concerned about the extra 50 minutes on LoTR instead of refurbishing some of our classics.

Grade: *** out of *****
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Ruthless People
Ruthless People by Jerry Zucker
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