Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1971)

Director: James Goldstone

Starring: Jerry Orbach, Lionel Stander, Robert De Niro, Leigh Taylor-Young, Jo Van Fleet, Irving Selbst, Herve Villechaize

More info: IMDb

Plot: This goofy gangster flick centers on a band of hapless goodfellas who hatch a plan to grab some mob action. Too bad they're idiots!

My rating: 4/10

Will I watch it again? NOOOOOOO!

What the hell did I just watch? I've been robbed of $3 (courtesy of Big Lots) and 96 minutes. It's supposed to be a comedy but aside from a few attempted laughs and a couple of real ones, it's kind of a crime drama with a sorry attempt at a love story. I was going to throw up some screen caps but ripping the trailer for YouTube is more time than I should waste but I'm doing it anyway. This clip made me laugh.

His role is pretty small (AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) but Herve Villechaize is hilarious and had my attention in every scene he's in. His voice is dubbed with a deeper actor's voice, by the way. You'll have to look fast for a bit part by Burt Young (this is his third picture). Jerry Orbach's lookin' awful young, too. I guess the real seller for this flick is a very early role for De Niro. You could tell it was going to be a while before he could handle being funny. There are a couple of scenes where he doesn't feel comfortable. He does a fine job I suppose but his character doesn't work too well. Hell, it's the whole damn picture that doesn't work. It's disjointed, confused and pointless. It felt like there were a lot of scenes missing that would maybe explain whatever it was they were going for. Here's another scene that got a slight chuckle out of me.

Oh, and here's the best part of the picture...the great Paul Benedict!

You recognize that cat, right? THAT'S funny. All of the above clips happen in the first ten minutes. Everything else had me either scratching my head, reaching for the remote or reaching for that next couple of fingers of bourbon. Seriously, everyone's Italian accents sound like Chico Marx was the dialogue coach. I'm not kidding. "Ats-a no good-a, Boss." I cannot with a good conscience recommend this film to anyone but De Niro completists or fans of that dude from FANTASY ISLAND.

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