Customer Reviews: Who's Harry Crumb?
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on November 26, 2005

John Candy plays bumbling Harry Crumb, the last survivor of a family of great detectives. This Crumb works in the agency his legendary grandfather founded, but he's been exiled to their "Greater Tulsa" office. Eliot Draisen (Jeffrey Jones) who somehow has become the Director of "Crumb and Crumb" assigns the inept Harry Crumb to find the kidnapped daughter of a multi-millionaire (played by the affable Barry Corbin from TV's "Northern Exposure"). There is a catch, however ... Draisen doesn't want the kidnappers found, for reasons of his own. While Crumb bumbles along through various mishaps (aided by his able assistant, Shawnee Smith) which are articulated via a series of ridiculously funny comedy skits, the kidnappers feel completely secure. In the meantime, Elliot Draisen tries to have his way with the millionaire's wife (Annie Potts), but does that have anything to do with the plot?


In "Who's Harry Crumb?", it's all in the execution. The series of vignettes that make up the heart of the film are John Candy at his best. He plays a series of "under-cover" impersonations that run the gamut from Middle Eastern Vice-President of operations to a blonde transvestite [in the epilogue]. The idea is that somehow, despite his penchant for being a complete idiot, he somehow catches the kidnappers, by accident. But -- not before breaking his boss's prize dinosaur eggs [literally] and everthing else that gets in his way. We can see what's happening, but it is the way that Crumb gets from point A to point B that makes this film entertaining and worth watching.


If being able to add English Subtitles and select scenes are features, then this DVD has features. It is, however, an excellent transfer in "Widescreen Format" and an obvious improvement over the VHS offering.


This is one of Candy's better efforts and he is largely a one-man band. His impersonations are all quite funny and truly ridiculous, especially the one where he plays Hungarian executive, DuJour Dioche. Here he goes from having excessive chest hair to having a beard in the wink of an eye. The skits alone make this a must-see for all and a must-have for any Candy fans.

This film was released in February of 1989 and grossed $11 million. He managed to make another 18 films before he died of a heart attack in his sleep on location of the film "Wagons East", in Durango, Mexico on March 4, 1994. He was 43.
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on March 5, 2004
I was about seven or eight years old when I first saw This movie, but it was instantly my favorite. The only thing is that it's most physical comedy. Now that I'm older I realize that it's not his best movie, but it's still a great comedy classic.
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on November 25, 2002
John Candy turns in an amusing performance as the bumbling detective Harry Crumb who is called in to solve the case of a wealthy socialite's kidnapped daughter. From the very beginning, Crumb's lack of tact, talent, and detective skills is obvious. He photographs the wrong person on a stake-out, gets stuck in an air conditioning duct, has his tie eaten by a paper shredder, and constantly misuses the words on his word-a-day calendar. While this may not be Candy's funniest performance, it does provide several stellar comic moments.
The supporting cast of this movie is sensational. Superb performances are turned in from Annie Potts, Barry Corbin, Shawnee Smith, and Wesley Mann as the lethargic butler. The finest performance of the movie is accomplished by Jeffrey Jones, who plays the President of Crumb's detective agency. The interractions he has with the befuddled Harry are outrageous and hilarious.
If you are looking for the best of John Candy, I would suggest movies such as "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" or "Uncle Buck" instead of this film. "Who's Harry Crumb?" does have its share of over-the-top moments and comedy that borders on the edge of campy or cheesy. However, more than a few moments of pure hilarity make this film an excellent addition to any movie collection.
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on September 16, 2009
I really enjoyed this movie, even though I'm not the biggest John Candy fan. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon when Saturday night is still keeping you from getting off the couch.

My only complaint is that I remember first seeing the movie on TV when I was visiting a friend in New York, and there was a hilarious scene that took place in the wine cellar, John Candy accidentally starts a machine that shoots clay pigeons all over the cellar and floods it with wine.

The scene must have been added to the TV broadcast to cover the bra scene being deleted, but was not part of the theatrical release and is not on the DVD. Which is weird, because if you watch the scene where they play footsie under the table at dinner, one of John Candy's pant legs is stained halfway up the shin with wine. With the deletion of the scene, that makes no sense.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Maybe if they ever release this movie in Blue Ray they will have the "director's cut" or some actual features added, like the deleted scenes.

Anyone else ever notice this? Or am I a complete continuity nerd?
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on October 5, 2000
Like many of the movies in this genre(slapstick comdedy), "Who's Harry Crumb" has an absurd story line. But all of this is pretty much inconsequential with a person like John Candy as the star. People who have seen his other performances, know that he can turn the smallest role in to comedic masterpieces(such as "Tom Tuttle from Tacoma Washington" on Volunteers). And naturally, when he has a starring role, he can elevate a movie from mediocre to great, as evidenced by this particular movie. Without John Candy, I would rate this movie as one of the 5 worst ever, but since John Candy is in it, it's in the top 25(which is a pretty exclusive list!).
All I can say is, if you still havn't watched this movie, even though it's been out for almost a dozen years, you're missing out on a hilarious movie. The first time I watched it, I couldn't stop laughing, it's that funny.
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on February 17, 2014
I cannot believe I had not seen this movie before recently...John Candy is a laugh riot as usual while playing the hapless eponymous private detective, solving cases the only was he knows how - with slapstick hilarity and side splitting visual gags. Fun for the whole family, highly recommended.
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on August 4, 2014
Arrived on time and in excellent condition. Movie is about case that is high profile and the people actually involved needed to find an inept detective with in there own to assign or so they thought. Thru interesting turns and sum fumbling around ends up piecing together and solving the case. John Candy is as usual funny funny wit and unusual pattern of portrayal that he gives his characters. A fun family movie for viewing in the evening. I enjoyed it and added it to my collection and I think you might also. I recommend this movie and seller.
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on August 3, 2015
One John Casey's best. Certainly a good site better than his very last movie. And good luck finding it even on late night surfing of your favourite cable provider.
This movie has some stand performer's by Annie Potts and the star of this film is the daughter of a great actor himself Barry Corbin The daughter is played by Shania Smith.
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on October 9, 2014
This is my absolute favorite John Candy movie. It wasn't his best in the box office, but it is my personal favorite. Stupid comedy at its best here. My kids loved it too - had to mute a few places and FF in one spot (the adult book store scene) but otherwise funny movie for all.
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on January 19, 2004
You gotta love John Candy, but no matter what actor you have in mind, they have something in common: most of them have been in bad movies at some time or another. This is probably the closest John Candy ever got, at least until I watch Summer Rental. It seems like a lot of Candy's movies were made in 1989. Can you really cram all those films into one year and have them all be smash hits? In the words of Macaulay Culkin, "I don't think so."
Sure, John Candy was funny. He was amusing physically, because of his height, size, and his appealing face. And usually he was able to use his acting talent to flesh out badly written roles. Such as this one, in which he plays an incompetent private investigator named Harry Crumb. Let me give you my take on this personally: I almost think they made a really good version of this movie, and then did a really bad one, and then melted them down and mixed them together. The result is a faltering, almost mutated comedy featuring some good actors and some bad, as well as some good jokes and some bad. Harry Crumb is a guy who goes around getting into new and wacky predicaments, yet waters them down constantly with his tired, redundant dialogue.
Another problem is that there's nothing going on in this movie with Candy that you haven't seen before, except for maybe the time he's standing on the ceiling fan in a beachside restaurant. Crumb is also distracting because of his terrible hair, dyed just a little too red and styled just a little too badly. I really found some of the other characters just as interesting. Jennifer Downing (a rich girl who gets kidnapped), P.J. Downing (her incredibly dense father), Helen Downing (his wife, who constantly sleeps around), Detective Casey (pessimistic cop lady), and Vince Barnes (a "two-bit country club Romeo" who is the focus of Helen's current affair) are all very good. However, Nikki Downing (Jennifer's sister), who hangs around with Crumb a good deal in the movie, could have spent a little more time in acting school. Most of the time her performance comes off as unconvincing, especially when compared with Candy's considerable skill. Also weird is the head of Crumb's department, Eliot Draisen, played by Jeffrey Jones. That's right! The creepy-looking guy who got busted for child computer porn! Maybe they wanted an element of horror in the movie or something.
But this is still a fairly funny comedy. If you like John Candy, you can probably survive this. It's definitely not one of his better movies, but even Candy's worst stuff is worth a look. How many actors are that good? Not many.
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