A Fine Mess

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Yikes! What's the worst sin for a comedy, if not the fact that it's not funny? Actually, and that's why this is not a 1-star rating, the worst sin for a comedy is to make you want to kill the main characters with fire, and I know quite a few who do that! "Not being obnoxious" is what this late Blake Edwards flick has going for it. Ted Danson is a charming lead and Howie Mandel is...well, as close to tolerable as a manchild sidekick who does shrill voices can get.

Sadly the movie is messy but has little in the finesse department: most of the comedy here is physical and juvenile, with rather intolerable camera mugging cartoonish villains. Luckily at least one of them goes offscreen for the final act, and the movie can breathe a bit, giving space to some very classical (you could see it as a stage play, with all the 'wrong doors, character exits, another one enters' sort of play) sort of comedy antics plus a surreal bit with a conversation through the front door during a shootout. Most of the material is trite, mostly a novelty for the 80s kitsch and decent, if monotone, performances (except, again, the two henchmen who take way too much screentime).

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Continuity mistake: At the end of the movie, Spence is seen with Claudia in a western movie. He walks through the swinging bar doors with a cigar in his mouth. He takes a few steps forward and the size of the cigar has nearly doubled.


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