Thursday, April 21, 2016

Life Stinks (1991)

Director: Mel Brooks

Writers: Mel Brooks, Ron Clark, Rudy De Luca, Steve Haberman

Composer: John Morris

Starring: Mel Brooks, Lesley Ann Warren, Jeffrey Tambor, Stuart Pankin, Howard Morris, Rudy De Luca, Teddy Wilson, Michael Ensign, Matthew Faison, Billy Barty

More info: IMDb

Tagline: From Fortune 500 ... to fortune's fool.

Plot:  A filthy rich businessman bets a corporate rival that he can live on the streets of L.A. without the comforts of home or money, which proves to be tougher than he thought.

My rating:  7/10

Will I watch it again?  Yeah, but in another twenty years.

It's been documented plenty on this site my love for Mel Brooks.  I last saw this one in the theater 25 years ago (ugh, I'm so old) and I hated it.  I didn't think it was funny then and I'm not even sure I laughed once.  But just now, I laughed a lot.   It's the first film he directed since THE TWELVE CHAIRS (1970) that wasn't a parody.  I don't know what changed in me in the past 25 years for me to really dig this picture but I had a good time with it.  The slap fight between Mel and Rudy De Luca (who also co-wrote the picture) is friggin' hilarious.  On one of Mel's slaps, Rudy is pushed sideways and bounces right back off of a chain link fence.  Classic!  The actors do a great job.  Lesley Ann Warren is hilarious, you can't help but love Mel, Howard Morris brings the heart in Sailor and Teddy Wilson (who played Fumes) had me in stitches at the end.  If you're expecting another one of Mel's top drawer parody films, you'll be disappointed at the lack of laughs per minute but there's still a lot of funny (and fun) in this social commentary.  Life might stink sometimes but, for me, this movie doesn't (anymore).  This is likely to be Mel's most overlooked film and there's no reason why it shouldn't be.  It's made for an older audience and it definitely has a place in his impressive catalog.  The MGM DVD presents the film in anamorphic widescreen.  For extras you get a 15 minute doc with interviews from the three writers - Mel, Rudy & Steve (which is a lot of fun), a commentary with these three cats and the theatrical trailer (anamorphic widescreen).

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