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  • Penn and Teller Get Killed isn't what you'd call a triumph of skilled film-making. The primary function of the movie is to allow Penn and Teller to perform their routines and display their trademark style -- a style that has as much to do with their attitudes as it does their 'magic.' If you like them, you'll like the movie; if not, you probably won't.

    That said, the plot is interesting enough, and the film is not JUST a vehicle. The film itself really does reflect their twisted sensibility, and that may be its strongest point -- it's not just "Penn and Teller do some magic with a plot pasted on." It's really what you'd expect if someone allowed these two to make a movie. (The ending, in particular, is one of the strangest I've ever seen.) The film is perfectly Penn and Teller: it gets inside your head, twists things around, breaks some stuff, and leaves with a smile as you try and figure out what to do with the mess.
  • The first time I watched this movie, I was disappointed. The laughs, it seemed, had been few and far between. After watching it again, however, some of the more subtle jokes caught my attention (in a word, Teller's facial expressions), and I found myself watching it yet a third time, and actually enjoying it. In other words, it "grew" on me.
  • Rosabel27 June 1999
    A movie no Penn & Teller fan would dream of being without. The first time I watched it, I was perplexed by the oddball atmosphere - this movie just doesn't play like a typical movie. Subsequent viewings have increased my fondness for it, though, and I keep finding more and more humour in it. So much of the humour comes from realizing that the jokes are not just inserted to make us laugh, but are the natural product of a very bizarre world that these two performers are inhabiting all the time. As Teller in a park catches pigeons with his bare hands, Penn says admiringly, "You're getting really good at that. You don't even hurt them anymore." Anymore? What has been going on between Teller and the pigeons all these years? The film is full of these little glimpses into a very weird world.
  • This movie is a must see for Penn and Teller fans. The story line reflects a lot about how the Bad Boys of Magic really act while on the road.

    The constant pranks are imminently entertaining. The movie drags a bit near the end, but leads up to a great surprise for fans of the magic twosome.

    The film may not sustain itself well for viewers who aren't very familiar with Penn and Teller. Still, you can't help but enjoy the frenzied nuttiness of the airport scene.
  • Penn Jillette gets a death wish literally in this hilarious comedy featuring our favorite magicians Penn and Teller. Penn announces on live national television that he wishes someone were out to kill him, and on the way to Atlantic City, Penn and Teller get into a lot of mishaps when they are just about to die a gruesome death, the 'murderers' turn out to be people they know! Laugh out loud funny!

    The funniest part of the movie was when Teller passes a theater playing a Stooge marathon of Shemp episodes and people walk out angry, and one heckler passes by and says, "Personally, I'm a Joe Besser fan"! In case nobody knew, Penn and Teller are fans of The Three Stooges. Also, Penn is a huge fan of classic rock from the 1960's and 1970's! It even shows how their magic tricks are done, as well!

    If you want to see a movie with Penn and Teller that will keep you laughing this one is it! It's a movie anyone will enjoy! I sure did! I give it 4 stars!
  • Being a big Penn and Teller fan, and after hearing about this movie I was looking forwards to seeing it, and was gratified when, on a lonely Friday night, I saw it was showing on TV.

    It started a little slowly, but I persevered, watching on. Yes it's a mildly amusing film. Certainly it gives us an insight into the world of the magicians, but when it comes down to it, it's simply a series of magic tricks strung together by a very thin plot. The tricks themselves are quite impressive, but in no way are they comparable to the magnificence of the duos live shows. It just doesn't compete. Worth watching but don't look forwards to anything special.
  • Penn and Teller is a fictional film about how inviting killers to your head on national TV can lead to potential problems, even if you are Penn and Teller.

    This film embodies almost everything that is Penn and Teller, because that is what a Penn and Teller film should represent: Penn and Teller. Let's get the bad out of the way first: The acting in the film is decent and comical, but not superb - especially the actors that play the side roles. Of course considering Penn and Teller are magicians whose job is to act in a way that conceals their tricks, their acting is not bad, although it feels like something is missing, especially in the more "emotional" parts of the film.

    Also, there's a slight issue with the writing. The film is sort of a mix between comedy and thriller, but the twists are generally somewhat predictable, and a lot of the humor does not cause explosive laughter. Again, the writing is just a wee bit weak, but in my opinion not the main point of the film.

    What the point of the film is though is lots of Penn and Teller: The viewer gets to see plenty of magic tricks and how they are done, Penn and Teller make commentary on various forms of superstition, and deliver what is in my opinion the silliest, somewhat apologetic yet quite possibly best ending a film could ever have.

    Overall, I would recommend Penn and Teller Get Killed, even if I were on national TV.
  • I got this movie for my 18th birthday, and it is a very good movie. Penn and Teller should make more movies like this. To bad it didn't make a lot when it was released, now the only way I can see them is watching thier magic shows. The ending of this movie caught me completely by surprise, I just can't describe how much I love it, I think I'll watch it again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie was hilarious. The jokes were fast and strong, with several more subtle gags throughout the film. Many scenes had me laughing so hard I couldn't hear the movie.

    Unfortunately, the film is based on a very loose plot. It seems to be a movie for the sake of comedy; substance without point or meaning. While practical jokes are all fun and good, I don't see how they managed to base the entire movie on that shaky premise. Penn & Teller are not known for their storytelling, of course, so I suppose this issue can be forgiven.

    Also, I felt really weird with Teller started talking at the end of the film. It's a brilliant ending, but they having Teller actually speak was a little much.
  • as a previous review already said about this film, if you like Penn and Teller's scthick then you'll love this film. It's bizarre, it's hilarious and most of all its one of the best bits of black comedy that's ever been committed to celluloid. The ending is so jarring you'd thunk you watched an episode of Chris Morris's Jam (an early 00's sketch show that 2 parts psychological horror and 1 part comedy) It's a laugh riot for Penn and Teller fans but for anyone else it might not make much sense. It is a hilarious film for the right mind. and if you want a break from the rest of the mediocre 80's films like mannequin, roadhouse (I do actually like roadhouse) and other such fare then it is a refreshing take in my opinion.
  • It's difficult to review and discuss Penn & Teller Get Killed as a typical comedy because, much like the duo it is profiling, the film attempts to subvert convention and defy the ordinary and is hard to judge on the basis of typical cinema. The film plays by its own rules, operates under the logic of illusionists, and provides the viewer with eight-nine minutes of unpredictability and ridiculousness.

    We open on the set of a talk show, with magicians Penn Jillette and his silent-partner Teller hanging upside down in mid-air. The cameras themselves are upside, showing Penn and Teller allegedly sitting behind a desk on set right side up. Penn and Teller do a few levitation tricks in front of a studio audience, who obviously know the trick, and encourage them to respond enthusiastically when Penn asks, "are we live?" to assure the audiences at home that there is no camera trickery.

    This is one of the many tricks Penn and Teller perform in the film, but this film isn't just a showcase for their tricks. When the gag is up, the two are interviewed on the talk show where Penn says he wishes somebody would try and kill him. What unfolds is Penn, his girlfriend Carlotta (Caitlin Clarke), and Teller going about their day-to-day lives filled with trickery and nonsense.

    As stated, this is a tricky film to summarize. At times it feels more of a showcase for the duo's talents rather than a film and, mainly during its third act, it feels like a film more than a showcase. One of the issues is director Arthur Penn has a difficult time communicating the direction of the picture to the audience, and, to be fair, I think even the greatest cinematic auteur would find it a considerable challenge to do what Penn & Teller Get Killed sets out to do and do it without any reservations or confusion. The film is a satirical black comedy, and because of this, I think it has an inherently difficult time communicating itself because it would appear that it wants to make its motivations clear to the audience, which I can also understand. The film is a cult film, but makes the right move of trying to communicate itself on all levels. This way, there's none of that "singling out" process I see with some more mainstream cult films; ones that seem to try and pick and choose their audiences without giving everyone the ability to like the end product. Ironically, the fact that it struggles to make itself universally appealing is ultimately a large strength on its part.

    I'm also a big fan of Penn and Teller in general, which can only help my positive feelings for this film. Their style of skeptic humor, illusionist humor, and logical discussion (used effectively on their Showtime show Penn & Teller: Bullshit!) has kept me a constant viewer of their work. It wasn't until I watched Penn & Teller Get Killed that I knew depressingly little about their stage magic and the work that they do as a duo in live shows. The film has the ability to provide you with a nice introduction to their work along with being a welcomed present for already self-aware fans.

    Starring: Penn Jillette, Teller, and Caitlin Clarke. Directed by: Arthur Penn.
  • I enjoyed Penn & Teller Get Killed. In fact, I loved it. However, I am also very aware that it takes a certain type of person to be able to appreciate it.

    The rather disjointed feel of much of it may turn you off. The scenes that don't seem to serve much of a purpose may turn you off. The anticlimax may turn you off. The dragged-out ending, or the weird pacing in general, may turn you off. The bizarre mix of seriousness and silliness may turn you off. The slightly hard-to-follow plot may turn you off. And if you're not a fan of black comedy, suffice it to say this movie is very unlikely to change your mind.

    But if you do love black comedy, if you enjoy a movie that delights in mixing hilarity with actual horror (as opposed to one where events that would be horrifying are made not so with humour), if you don't think those quirks I mentioned above will ruin your ability to enjoy it, then you should definitely give it a chance. You may just love it as much as I did.
  • gridoon2 December 2001
    The idea is promising: is someone actually trying to kill Penn (following his peculiar request), or is it all a big hoax? But the result is a mess. The script that Penn and Teller wrote is unstructured and complex, and it doesn't seem to have a discernible beginning, middle or end. There is a funny and creative scene in an airport, early on, and then the film goes downhill. The VERY last monologue we hear, however, is kind of clever... (**)
  • Elwood_Cooper25 November 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    RANDOM STUFF IS THE BEST! Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I can continue. I've recently become attached to Penn & Teller and just got this movie which I had been waiting for for the past 2 weeks. I love Penn & Teller! I've seen their Magic and Mystery Tour, I own Bullsh*t! on DVD and any other way of observing them I've accomplished. This movie I couldn't wait to see because I knew it would be funny! And it was! Not only is the whole movie just a bunch of practical jokes, it's plain random! Random is good! When the movie was coming to a close and the punchline to the entire practical joke in the movie set in, I realized it was very much something that would've come from the mind of Andy Kaufman himself! That's was pure genius! If you ever get the chance to see this movie, watch it and you'll find it funny if you like random practical jokes! ALSO there is a bonus! You get to hear Teller speak! Oh yes! It's great, because you'll just think "boy does he sound weird!" but that's only because you've never heard it before- Thanks to the Egypt episode of the Magic and Mystery tour I had already heard it- So even just watch it to hear Teller's voice- It'll be great either way!
  • The first five minutes of this film are quite interesting when we see them in the television studio but that is the only half descent thing we see. The rest of the film is so pretentious it is unbelievable.The story is about a set of practical jokes which are not funny and half the time dont make sense and the ending is awful. The female actress turns up in the last half an hour out of nowhere and takes the film down another notch. They should have killed themselves at the beginning! Dont get me wrong i like Pen & Teller and their Bulls*** TV series is fantastic but sorry guys this stinks! 2 out of 10
  • First, I will admit, I don't "get" Penn and Teller's routine.

    I've seen them several times and while they seem like pretty decent people, and would probably be fun to have a drink with, I don't find their brand of comedy to be all that funny.

    This movie is a one-joke schtick. What happens when you ask people to kill you on network TV? A perfectly reasonable 20 minute skit could be done with this material. Instead it was turned into a dreadful two hour movie.

    I saw this when it was in the theater. It was the only time in my life I went to the manager and demanded a refund. (He was nice and gave us free tix for another movie).

    I have friends who adore Penn and Teller, and if you are one of these people, go see them on video. It's probably worth two bucks on discount rental night. In a theater? At anything close to going movie ticket prices? Never again!
  • this movie has some interesting stunts that are pulled, but I kept asking myself during the duration of the film, Is Penn the guy who does the "next on Comedy Central" voice. Otherwise I could dig this movie, jay and silent bob seemed to rip it off a little bit.
  • Very strange...but the film yielded some good gags. It did seem to get a bit dry in some places, though. Still...not a complete waste of time. I gave it a 10, because I would like it to survive the world's transition from vhs to dvd. Perhaps this will help. COME ON EVERYBODY! KEEP STUPID MOVIES ON THE SHELVES!