George Gallo directs Nicolas Cage, Dana Carvey and John Lovitz in this Christmas caper comedy where three hoodlums brothers rob a small town’s bank but then cannot seem to leave the heartwarming community.
Man, post Wayne’s World I would have watched Mike and / or Dana in anything. I travelled deep into the centre of London to watch this at the Whiteleys Odeon… Nic Cage was not the reason for the pilgrimage. What a wasted trip. Midnight Run screenwriter George Gallo does not a good director make. His directing career is a litany of “that guy” movies – goofy, schmaltzy crime feel good releases featuring supporting actors you like from better films and a direct-to-video air about them. He struggles to marshal the divergent acting styles here and it swamps the experience. Carvey does a retarded Mickey Rourke impression that goes nowhere… his rampant acts of background kleptomania are the only real chuckles. Lovitz does his wise guy Chevy Chase schtick which works fine in two or three scenes of a sitcom guest appearance but really grates when given the spotlight for two hours. Cage was pre-Oscar win and action hero reinvention at this point. A lot of his choices in this period erred toward forgotten screwball comedies. For every Honeymoon In Vegas, there’s a Guarding Tess. He should be the anchor here. He is absolutely untethered though. Swinging from straight man for the other delinquent Firpo Brothers to batshit mental line readings – the type he back then at least normally reserved for quirkier projects. “Key? KEY!…. Keeeeeeeaeeeeey!!” Allegedly Gallo refused to give his actors any hands on direction, so this mish mash of the leads’ worst instincts is the joyless result. A mugging fest that runs on half an hour too long… and then just switches off forgettably. Mädchen Amick is the lost in the shuffle romantic interest.
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