We’re No Angels (1989)

Neil Jordan directs Robert De Niro, Sean Penn and Demi Moore in this Depression-era crime comedy remake where two escaped convicts pretend to be priests while waiting to jump the border.

Unsuccessful in its day despite being David Mamet scripted and mega-budgeted. If ridiculously overwhelming life-size sets could get laughs this would be a riot. Everyone seems happier when it falls back into the hard edged crime stuff that brackets the “larks”. If mugging alone trumped jokes we’d have a hit. DeNiro mugs like a prizefighter post-knockout. Instead we are abandoned with a very beautiful, dramatically well acted, heavy handed film that struggles to be a comedy under the weight of its own prestige. There’s a rubbish, forgotten Nic Cage / Jon Lovitz film that does this vibe better, the contemporary Nuns on the Run hit more chuckles with zero class. I’m not saying Jordan, De Niro, Penn, Mamet or Moore can’t do comedy. But there’s no lightness or broadness or space to let the wit land. John C Reilly pops up in an early showing as an overly enthused, pious Brother and seems to get more screentime and dialogue than Penn. Guess who understands and demonstrates what this film should have been?


Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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