THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN(director: Danny De Vito; screenwriters: Stu Silver; cinematographer: Barry Sonnenfeld; editor: Michael Jablow; music: David Newman; cast: Danny De Vito (Owen), Billy Crystal (Larry), Anne Ramsey (Momma), Rob Reiner (Joel), Kate Mulgrew (Margaret), Kim Greist (Beth), Branford Marsalis (Lester); Runtime: ; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Larry Brezner; ; 1987)
“So-so diverting one-note black comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The directorial debut of comedian Danny De Vito(“Hoffa”/”Matilda”/”The War of the Roses”), in which he also stars, results in this so-so diverting one-note black comedy. It’s written by Stu Silver with ample wit. And, at least, it’s amiable and the actors are appealing, even when the story deadens. It plays homage to Hitchcock.
Danny is the living at home middle-aged docile brow- beaten ‘momma’s boy’ son of the monstrous Anne Ramsey. When assigned by his creative writing teacher Billy Crystal to write a review of Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” Danny is inspired to try out for real that film’s plot of swapping murders. Danny knows his professor has gone through a bitter divorce with his repulsive ex (Kate Mulgrew), who stole his first novel that’s now a bestseller, and believes the professor wanted to swap murders. The whiny professor, going through a period of writer’s block, can’t believe the dim-witted student really killed his wife. Now that he’s a prime suspect, he’s forced to move into the rat-infested apartment of Danny and his despotic mother. While Danny plays with his toy trains, the professor is visited by his confused girlfriend (Kim Greist) for some snuggling.
REVIEWED ON 1/11/2016 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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