Wise Guys

2 ratings (2 Epinions reviews)
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Thank You, Mr. Acavano!

May 26, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Action Factor:

Pros:Script, DeVito-Piscopo, Captain Lou, some real laughs.

Cons:I don't know.

The Bottom Line: It's hilarious and underrated so check it out when the DVD comes out so you can thank Mr. Acavano too!


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.

I first saw this movie when I was five or six years old. Despite its' foul language, it's sweet and amiable, and in my opinion, Wise Guys is the most underrated comedy of the 80s.

It stars Danny DeVito as Harry Valentini and Joe Piscopo (or as my dear departed grandfather used to call him "Joe Pistibule") as his best friend, Morris "Moe" Dickstein. These two men work for Newark, New Jersey mob boss Anthony Costelo (Dan Hedaya, doing an Al Pacino send up) but they are so far down on the gangster scale that they are reduced to picking up his laundry and groceries. This frustrates Harry, but Moe is just happy that they don't have to hurt anybody and make decent money. Harry dreams of bigger and better things but he doesn't have the knack to achieve them. The worst part of that last statement is, he thinks he does, and he always cons Moe into believing the same thing.

As a result, when they are taken to the race track to place a bet for Mr. Costelo, Harry tells Moe Costelo always loses so why don't they just take his ten thousand dollars and put it on the favored horse. Of course, things don't go according to plan. Normally, Costelo would lose at the track, but today, at incredible odds, his horse wins and he puts a contract out on Harry and Moe, who go to Atlantic City to see Harry's estranged Uncle Mike. Uncle Mike is Costelo's former mentor and Harry figures he can talk to Costelo and straighten everything out. Unfortunately, what Harry and Moe don't know is that they're running from each other, as they hired both of them to kill the other.

The gangster who expresses the most interest is Frank "The Fixer" Acavano (Former WWF manager "Captain" Lou Albano, who steals every scene he's in), Costelo's number one hitman. The Fixer hates Harry and Moe anyway but when they are running from killers, they stroll off in the Fixer's beloved Cadillac which infuriates him. It infuriates him even more when he gets to Atlantic City and finds that Harry and Moe have ripped off his credit cards (which, incidentally, is where the catch phrase in the title of this review happens as that's what Harry and Moe say every time they buy something with Fixer's credit cards) and intentionally wrecked his Cadillac.

The Fixer is the funniest character in the movie because Albano, whom I remember from my childhood, delivers his lines so fiercely that when I watch the film, I laugh out loud at simple lines that were obviously not scripted as funny lines, like, "How come I wasn't invited to 'dis party?" Or "HEEY, What is this twenty (expletive deleted) questions?"

A particularly funny scene involving the Fixer occurs in his AC hotel room with his two partners, Santo Ravalo and Joey Sicilone. Joey is clipping his toenails frustratingly because the Fixer is too large to do it himself. Joey asks if Mrs. Fixer does it for him at home, and he replies, "None of your business." (Another unfunny line that I laugh at) and asks why they can't just go to Harry and Moe's hotel and kill them. Santo picks up a large white object and remarks it is the strangest pillow case he's ever seen, to which Fixer angrily replies, "It's my underwear, a--hole!"

Screenwriter George Gallo was contacted to write a fictional Three Stooges movie before this and it was cancelled. Gallo claimed he included some references in this script as a result. I'm sure "Moe" was a reference, but if I'd just seen this for the first time, I would have thought he was influenced more by The Honeymooners. Harry is a dreamer who never looks before he leaps and Moe is a follower who can't help listening to him because he's kinder and naive, and that's much closer to Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton.

Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo make a surprisingly good pair on screen and they work well together. Keep an eye out for Harvey Keitel at the end of the picture as their old friend Bobby DiLea, the Atlantic City mob boss.

I'm writing this review because the DVD will be out in the Fall and I can't recommend it enough.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older


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