31 December 2002 | vchimpanzee
wonderfully silly farce
We know right from the beginning that this will not be a normal movie. At Leonard's funeral, his widow Selma hugs her son Richie and, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, demands that he not let anything happen to him, because he is all she has left. Twenty years later, Richie is a patient of his cousin Evan, a brain surgeon,because of a growth on his head. Before the test results come back, the cousins go to Atlantic City with their girlfriends. While playing the slot machines, Richie runs out of quarters and asks Evan for some. He wins $400,000, and though Evan thinks he deserves a share, he won't ask for it. He doesn't have to. Richie writes him a check for the grand sum of ... $1,000. It seems everyone has an opinion on what Richie should do, including the limo driver who kicks Richie out in the middle of nowhere. Evan gives Richie a jogging suit for his birthday (Richie gives it to a wino) and Richie realizes he should give Evan more. He offers 3 percent. Evan gets even after the test results come back, telling Richie he has just months to live. Knowing his mother won't be able to go on if he dies, Richie arranges for the aforementioned wino to move into his mother's house. See, the mother has a heart condition, and the shock of a stranger in her house might ... anyway, Evan gets the news just before doing surgery on a famous sitcom star, surgery that if not done right could leave the actor, um, less of a man. The second half of the movie is even funnier than the first. The actor playing the wino gives a standout performance. One particularly funny incident: a neighbor who saw the wino apologizes to the African-American detective investigating the incident for the fact the man is black, and her husband assures the detective the next time the person might be white or even Chinese. A wonderful movie. Even the music is first-rate, mostly classical (well, there is the sitcom's theme song, which is fluff).