Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
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.