Friday, February 24, 2017
FOR LOVE OR MONEY (1993)
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld
Written By: Mark Rosenthal & Lawrence Konner
Cinematography By: Oliver Wood
Editor: Jim Miller
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Gabrielle Anwar, Anthony Higgins, Patrick Breen, Michael Tucker, Fyvush Finkel, Udo Kier, Bob Balaban, Dan Hedaya, Issac Mizrahi, Susan Blommaert, Debra Monk, Nicole Beach, Veronica Webb
Doug is a young man who works all day as a concierge at a luxurious hotel, saving money to make his own business. Unfortunately, when he finds the financial supporter he needs, he discovers that his "saviour" is having an affair with the woman he loves! Now, he must choose between money and love...
The original title for this film was "The Concierge" but the studio was worried that many people would not know what that meant, so the title was changed several months before release. Which would have fit but makes it seem more like a Jerry Lewis one man show type of film like THE BELLBOY even though with all the slapstick comedy this does seem like a Michael J. Fox highlight Reel
This film feels like the classic type of slapstick romantic comedies from the 1940's where to seems like the film is almost alive as the film keeps moving everyone in the background is busy the actors themselves are keeping busy while saying their witty lines it's almost like watching a high wire act or a tightrope as everything seems to work separately but somehow comes together perfectly.
The film luckily follows many different storylines that all seem to converge on Michael J. Fox's character. Who has his eye on the prize of his own business.
This film is one of Barry Sonnenfeld’s First directing Jobs after years as a noted cinematographer. This film came out right before he started a block of directing hit movies like GET SHORTY and the MEN IN BLACK films.
The film is certainly a new York type of film. It has many scenes that have a ferocious smart energy followed by some stupid jokes, but the time the film felt at least on the pulse of New York City as it could be and still be a Respectable comedy.
It has that sort of THE APARTMENT feel where a man is helping another man basically cheat so he can achieve his dream while finding out it is the girl of his dreams. The film Never approaches the darkness of that film keeping this to be more sweet but not sugary sweet more like a substitute sweetener like Splenda in other words artificial.
The film perfectly embryos the coldness of New York City while showing why it is so grand and beloved.
Now while I like the film. I can recognize it more as a fantasy with some reality thrown in. It achieves what it wants and Michael J. Fox gives a hell of a performance all full of charm and intelligence.
It's just not as sharp as it pretends to be and how it presents itself. Every time it had the desire to be a bit more risqué it quickly retreats back into being sweet and innocent.
It feels grand as it is Filmed that way. What hurts the film is that other then the couple and the money man. The hotel employee characters played by Udo Kier and Fyvush fine as well as guests such as Dan Hedaya feels like someone trying to be wacky that could have come from central casting they never feel real and lived in. They feel like single character jokes always coming off like filler or distractions. They come off more annoying then a thing and drag the film down to a pedestrian level.
This is a film I used to enjoy going to see on a Sunday afternoon. Non offensive fun and entertaining. Encore really examining and reading films. I can still enjoy this film though now I can see the problems and the seems more.
The film manages to achieve what it sets out to do. Which is entertain it knows it is not deep or about characters. This film is purely about entertainment and achieves what it seeks.
It is actually one of the better Michael J. Fox starring comedies that really showcases his comedic skills and talents as well as his physical comedy. Which is why he always corns off as more a movie star. Then nothing else. What he might lack in more dramatic depth he more the compensated with personality and performance.
The physical comedy on behalf of Michael J. Fox makes him seem like a human cartoon but also plays up the speed and loneliness of this throwback to slapstick screwball comedy. The only problem is that he is more on display than anyone there to really match him. Is the film comes off between that and almost an urban fairy tale love story. With familiar story lines that reminds one of THE APARTMENT only not as dark and here the physical comedy also showcases Michael J. Fox and his character showing that he will go above and beyond to make his dream come true.
His co-star Gabrielle Anwar this was one of her first big starring roles. When she was the next big thing in Hollywood around this time. As usual these types of films give the female co-star barely anything to do other then be pretty, sincere snd down to earth and the characters loving her for it and trying to keep her from becoming jaded and losing that quality, but there is always a sense of the females in these movies needed to be saved instead of being independent and actually choosing to be with someone.
Though if looking for a zany quick moving romantic comedy film that is my as much of a romance and more builds itself towards romance with a manic energy that rarely seems to slow down. This is the film for you