You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Layin’ Low

Jerry Jeremy Piven Mrs. Muckler Louise Lasser Angie Edie Falco Christy Frank John Hughes Manuela Allana Ubach Augie Paul Sand Vince Lenny Venito Patty Paul Schulze

Jerry Jeremy Piven Mrs. Muckler Louise Lasser Angie Edie Falco Christy Frank John Hughes Manuela Allana Ubach Augie Paul Sand Vince Lenny Venito Patty Paul Schulze

The starting point of “Layin’ Low,” the first feature from New York helmer Danny Leiner, is a drug heist gone wrong, but this engaging, very funny pic is anything but just another post-Tarantino tough-guy gangster outing. Leiner, who also penned the witty script, keeps the laughs coming most of the way through and gets big-time help from a uniformly strong cast, led by Jeremy Piven as quintessential Brooklyn loser Jerry Muckler.

“Layin’ Low” will likely pique the interest of indie distribs willing to take on a project that will require careful marketing, and pic’s blend of street-wise comedy and small-time mobster shenanigans will likely click with audiences. The challenge will be to convince the public that this is not your garden-variety drug-dealers-and-hoodlums pic.

In spite of a couple of gun battles and the presence of various drug peddlers , “Layin’ Low” is actually a mostly affectionate portrait of a couple of blue-collar layabouts and their unlikely quest for love, friendship and a ticket out of their dead-end lives. But it’s the drugs that complicate matters.

Life is not looking too rosy for Jerry Muckler (Jeremy Piven). He’s 33, still living at home with his parents, has no serious g.f. in sight and nothing resembling a real job. His best friend, Christy (Frank John Hughes), is not faring much better gambling and trying to score with one far-fetched scam scheme after another.

One night, Jerry agrees to help his pal Patty (Paul Schulze) move and, on the way to the job, they stumble into a mob shootout. Jerry somehow ends up behind the wheel of the van with Patty bleeding to death right beside him and a suspicious bag sitting on the seat. When Jerry discovers that the satchel contains a load of high-priced dope, he freaks out and realizes he has to go into hiding.

Christy sets him up to stay with his old Aunt Rose, a killer card sharp who regularly fleeces her new houseguest during hard-fought games of gin rummy. Christy’s cousin Angie (Edie Falco) shows up at Aunt Rose’s one day and at first wants to turn Jerry out on the street. But they soon warm to each other.

Leiner shows no small skill in balancing the comic and dramatic elements here , and he pays special attention to the details, from the memorable secondary characters to witty throwaway quips. Piven somehow manages to make Jerry seem like an endearing loser who is clearly smarter than he lets on, and Hughes showcases a feverish quirkiness as Christy. In a rare bigscreen appearance, Louise Lasser is perfectly cast as Jerry’s highly neurotic mother.

Jim Denault’s lensing captures the flavor of the streets of Brooklyn and former Lounge Lizard Evan Lurie contributes a cool, sinuous jazzy score.

Layin' Low

Production: A Shooting Gallery production. Produced by Nina Shiffman. Executive producer, Larry Meistrich. Directed, written by Danny Leiner.

Crew: Camera (color), Jim Denault; editor, Michelle Boticelli; music, Evan Lurie; production designer, Steve Rosenzweig. Reviewed at Hamptons Film Festival, Oct. 18, 1996. Running time: 96 MIN.

More Film

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content