(director: Malcomb Mowbray; screenwriters: Leonard Glasser/George Malko; cinematographer: Tony-Pierce Roberts; editor: Dennis M. Hill; music: Michel Colombien; cast: John Lithgow (Dave Geary), Bruce McGill(Ernie Cannard), Teri Garr (Sunny Cannard), Randy Quaid (Lester Atlas), (Lew), Lisa Blount (Phyllis), Fran Ryan (Arlene); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Ron Hamady/George G. Braunstein; MGM; 1989)
“Offbeat understated black comedy set in San Francisco that never thaws out.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Offbeat understated black comedy set in San Francisco that never thaws out. It’s stiffly directed by Malcomb Mowbray (“A Private Function”/”The Boyfriend School”). Writers Leonard Glasser and George Malko try for a clever script but never reach such heights. The story revolves around mismatched partners in a butcher shop, the sweet Dave Geary (John Lithgow) and the piggish Ernie Cannard (Bruce McGill).
The cheating Ernie is married to the adulterous Sunny (Teri Garr), in a loveless affair. When Ernie treats her like crap and refuses to give her money, the calculating bitch contacts sleazy private investigator Lester Atlas (Randy Quaid) to get photos of her cheating husband in action. She plans to file for a divorce and take him for all he’s worth. But when the opportunity arises to lock him in the store’s meat freezer overnight, she doesn’t hesitate. The next morning a perplexed Dave believes he’s responsible for Ernie’s demise because he took a punch at the insulting Ernie and knocked him out cold in the freezer. Things move forward in an unbelievable and lackluster way, when Sunny partners with the naive Dave after the incident (she went out with Dave but chose to marry Ernie).
Things make no sense when Dave and Sunny take the body to the woods where Ernie hunts deer, as they want the authorities to think he died there. All the contrived efforts to further the plot with more amoral activity are humorless, strained and uncalled for.
REVIEWED ON 2/1/2019 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/