(directors: Howard Franklin/Bill Murray; screenwriter: based on a Jay Cronley novel/Howard Franklin; cinematographer: Michael Chapman; editor: Alan Heim; music: Randy Edelman; cast : Bill Murray (Grimm), Geena Davis(Phyllis), Randy Quaid (Loomis), Jason Robards (Chief Rotzinger), Bob Elliott (Bank Guard), Philip Bosco(Bus Driver), Brian McConnachie(Bank Manager), Tony Shalhoub (Cab Driver), Kimberley Arn (Bank Teller), Dale Grand (Street Barker), Richard Joseph Paul (Lt. Jameson), Jamey Sheridan (Mugger), Phil Hartman (Hal Edison), Kathyrn Grody (Mrs. Edison), Steve Park (Kim, Grocery Cashier), Victor Argo (Skelton), Stanley Tucci (Johnny), Stuart Rudin (Bus Rider with Guitar), Gary Klar (Mario), Kurtwood Smith (Russ Crane/Lombino); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Robert Greenhut/Bill Murray; Warner Brothers; 1990)

A funny, quirky and engaging very NYC dark comedy.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A funny, quirky and engaging very NYC dark comedy co-directed by Bill Murray and Howard Franklin. It’s based on the novel by Jay Cronley, and is penned by Franklin. The novel was filmed before in 1985 as Hold-Up, a film starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. Grimm (Bill Murray), dressed as a clown, his girlfriend Phyllis (Geena Davis) and their loser childhood friend Loomis (Randy Quaid) pull off a perfect bank robbery in downtown Manhattan.

Just before closing time the clown pulls a gun on the elderly bank guard (Bob Elliott) to gain entry, as the guard asks him, ‘What kind of clown are you?” The clown thoughtfully answers ”The crying-on-the-inside kind, I guess.” The clown robs a million dollars and holds the bank employees and customers hostage while negotiating with the police chief Rotzinger (Jason Robards) for release of the hostages.

The first of three hostages released are Loomis and Phyllis, posing as hostages. The third hostage released is Grimm, now in civilian clothes. The three can’t wait to leave the hated city, where Grimm worked as a disgruntled city planner. They meet in a deserted neighborhood they are not familiar with, where they parked their car and are in a rush to get to the airport to catch a flight to Fiji, But problems arise trying to get out of the city, as they are lost in the strange neighborhood where all the street signs have been removed temporarily by the city. Then they must deal with the following: a mugger (Jamey Sheridan) in the strange neighborhood, having a gun pulled on them upon their return to their apartment to change clothes by the new apartment dweller (Phil Hartman), a crazy taxi ride with a cabbie (Tony Shalhoub) from Central America who speaks no English, a run in with the local mafia captain (Victor Argo), dealing with a rigid bus driver (Philip Bosco) who will only take exact fare and a clash at the airport with the police and a mafia chief (Kurtwood Smith).

The ending was too cutesy for my taste and all its silliness left it with plenty of down time, but it still worked for me because I enjoyed Murray’s deadpan approach to the comedy/caper and the string of character actors provided laughs throughout.

REVIEWED ON 9/13/2017 GRADE: B   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/