Review: ‘Tin Men’

The improbable tale of a pair of feuding aluminum siding salesmen, Tin Men winds up as bountiful comedy material in the skillful hands of writer-director Barry Levinson.

The improbable tale of a pair of feuding aluminum siding salesmen, Tin Men winds up as bountiful comedy material in the skillful hands of writer-director Barry Levinson.

Film is packed with laughs, thanks to taut scripting and superb character depictions by Richard Dreyfuss, Danny DeVito and a fascinating troupe of sidekicks. These fast-buck hustlers collectively fashion a portrait of superficial greed so pathetic it soars to a level of black humor.

Central storyline finds Dreyfuss and DeVito tangling from the start after an accident damages both of their Cadillacs. Conflict between the two strangers – who don’t find out until later they’re both tin men – escalates to the point where Dreyfuss seeks to get even by wooing DeVito’s unhappy wife (Barbara Hershey) into bed.

While each of the tin men is revealed as a compelling, off-center type in his own right, the one played by Jackie Gayle especially shines.

Tin Men

Production

Touchstone. Director Barry Levinson; Producer Mark Johnson; Screenplay Barry Levinson; Camera Peter Sova; Editor Stu Linder; Music David Steele, Andy Cox; Art Director Peter Jamison

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Richard Dreyfuss Danny DeVito Barbara Hershey John Mahoney Jackie Gayle Stanley Brock
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