Saturday, January 13, 2007

Movie Review: The Crew 2 ½ Stars

I applaud any movie that employs this many older actors, and I’m not just talking about the four leads (Burt Reynolds, Richard Dreyfuss, Dan Hedaya and Seymour Cassel.) There are dozens of geriatric actors in The Crew, from background extras to bit players to Lainie Kazan. In fact, The Crew proves one of my longstanding theories on comedy: old people are funny. Unfortunately, the old people gags are just about the only funny you’ll find in The Crew, and even those are pretty thin.

The aforementioned leads play retired mobsters, Bats, Bobby, The Mouth and The Brick, living in a Miami Beach overrun by hard-bodied hotties running the rent prices up and the retirees out. With relocation looming, the gangsters decide to stage a hit in the apartment complex where they live, stealing a body from the morgue and shotgunning it gangland-style. As it turns out, the body was the father of drug lord Ventana (Miguel Sandoval), who seeks to avenge his father’s murder by calling for the head of “whoever did this!”

The detectives investigating the case, Olivia (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Steve (Jeremy Piven), also happen to be former boyfriend/girlfriend. Apparently Steve is as good at philandering as he is at detective work. While she pursues the case, he pursues her. Meanwhile, the old guys unwittingly find themselves in the family business again, caught in the crosshairs of Ventana, under the scrutiny of the detectives and in the middle of a plot involving a stripper/hooker named Ferris (Jennifer Tilly) and wealthy widow Pepper (Kazan), who owns the crew’s favorite diner.

The mobster jokes all seem to be japes I’ve heard before. And I have. In some incarnation or another, the bits have been recycled from My Blue Heaven, Analyze This, The Freshman and Married to the Mob. And the theme owes more than a tip of its brim to the wonderful Burt Lancaster flick, Atlantic City.

I love the cast, absolutely think the four leads are some of the most interesting personalities in film, including Burt Reynolds, the misunderstood genius. I guess while old people are funny, old jokes aren’t.

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