Review: ‘Oscar’

Oscar is an intermittently amusing throwback to gangster comedies of the 1930s. While dominated by star Sylvester Stallone and heavy doses of production and costume design, pic is most distinguished by sterling turns by superb character actors.

Oscar is an intermittently amusing throwback to gangster comedies of the 1930s. While dominated by star Sylvester Stallone and heavy doses of production and costume design, pic is most distinguished by sterling turns by superb character actors.

Verbally adept script by TV comedy writers Michael Barrie and Jim Mulholland is based on a 1958 French play of the same name by Claude Magnier that was turned into a 1967 film starring Louis de Funes and directed by Edouard Molinaro. Set virtually entirely in Stallone’s mansion, antics have an inescapably stagebound feel.

Manic proceedings unfold within a four-hour time period on the morning when legendary hood Angelo ‘Snaps’ Provolone (Stallone) will officially go straight by entering the banking business. Snaps is rudely awakened on his big day by his young accountant (Vincent Spano), who brashly announces he needs a big raise so he can afford to marry the gangster’s daughter (Marisa Tomei).

This sets in motion a domestic tempest involving two more potential husbands for the daughter, her surprise announcement she’s pregnant, the arrival of another woman who claims to be Snaps’ daughter and the mixing up of three identical black bags.

Stallone does no more than a serviceable job in getting across the humor. But pic’s a pleasure around the edges through the casting of Don Ameche and Eddie Bracken, not to mention Yvonne DeCarlo and, in an opening scene cameo as Snaps’ father, Kirk Douglas.

Oscar

Production

Touchstone. Director John Landis; Producer Leslie Belzberg; Screenplay Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland; Camera Mac Ahlberg; Editor Dale Beldin; Music Elmer Bernstein; Art Director Bill Kenney

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1991. Running time: 109 MIN.

With

Sylvester Stallone Ornella Muti Don Ameche Peter Riegert Tim Curry Vincent Spano
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