Friday, January 29, 2010

My Family Theater: "Ruthless People" (1986)

Why don't people ever talk about the 1986 David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams comedy "Ruthless People" when they yammer on and on about classic 1980's films?

Ken and Sandy, a married couple and pair of too-nice kidnappers (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater) kidnap shrieking, poisonous Barbara Stone (Bette Midler) to get money from Sam Stone (Danny Devito), who screwed them by stealing and getting rich stealing Sandy's clothing designs. The one thing they don't count on? Sam was going to kill Barbara anyway and is thrilled that she's been kidnapped.

Icing on the cake! Bill Pullman and the late, great and hot Anita Morris are trying to get theirs.

It is in no way appropriate for children, yet I have wonderful memories of being home sick from school watching this film with my mother, snorting with laughter at Midler shouting at her inept kidnappers, "YOU'VE FUCKED WITH THE WRONG PERSON! My husband does business with the Mafia! When they track you down, you, your entire family, everyone you ever KNEW will all get chainsaw enemas!"

DeVito has never been slimier or better. This scene of him sharing the secret of his success with a young cop (he's also supposed to be worried sick over his kidnapped wife) is comedy gold and possibly the best way to answer a wrong number.

And how nice is it to see Bette Midler doing Rated R comedy before she submitted to gooey chick roles, like the insulin-shock inducing Beaches or the vile Scenes from a Mall or the epic-ly crappy WWII cheesefest For the Boys.

This revenge on the rich-who-screw-over-the-working-guy was perfect for the greed obsessed 1980s but is just as delightful now.

Amazing animated opening sequence to Mick Jagger song! - click here!

1 comment:

  1. I totally watched this at home, on the couch, with my mom. Possibly on Beta...