Sunday, June 3, 2012

Funny Money

Funny Money; comedy, USA/ Germany/ Romania, 2006; D: Leslie Greif, S: Chevy Chase, Penelope Ann Miller, Christopher McDonald, Armand Assante, Alex Meneses, Robert Loggia

New York. Henry Perkins is a monotone middle-aged employer in a wax factory who even attends a therapy in order to save his uneventful marriage with Carol. However, after accidentally switching his briefcase with the one of a mobster in a subway, Henry discovers it contains 5 million $ and thus wants to leave the country with Carol as soon as possible, but that is aggravated when their apartment is visited by a corrupt cop, Vic and Gina, his boss and another cop who mistakenly thinks that Henry was killed. In all the commotion, Henry and Carol manage to get the money and escape to a tropical beach.

An adaptation of Ray Cooney's acclaimed eponymous satirical play, Leslie Greif's "Funny Money" was not met with particular success, either with the critics nor with the audience, however, the vibrant comic spark from the original still managed to survive to a certain degree in this edition. The unsure hand of the authors can be sensed at times, not only in execution but also in somewhat clumsy editing, yet overall "Funny Money" is a dynamic and still surprisingly fun little comedy with just enough laughs to satisfy an evening viewing. Chevy Chase still has some comic talent left in him in the three funniest scenes of the movie (in the opening in the wax factory (!) when he stops the assembly line because he finds a "dark spot" on a wax banana; the therapy sequence when he mentions how his wife "makes sculptures of phalluses but is afraid to show them to anyone!"; and in the riot moment when he suddenly switches to an Australian accent in front of the police inspector, even though he talked normally before), Robert Loggia has a good supporting role ("How do you called a woman paralyzed from the waist down?" - "Married!") whereas the tight story manages to sustain the level up until the rather rushed-chaotic ending. A light, yet amusing farce on greed, mistaken identity, comedy of errors and escapism.


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