A Movie Not Worthy of Any Respect
I've noticed over the years that when a rock star makes his final album
before his death, that album, if it's not his best, is usually prolific
in some way and worthy of a listen at least. The album is usually good
enough to cement a legacy. However, when it comes to comedians,
especially mainstream comics who star in their own vehicles, their
final movie is usually God awful. John Belushi had "Neighbors", John
Candy had "Wagon's East", Chris Farley had "Almost Heroes", Phil
Hartman had "Small Soldiers", and Rodney Dangerfield had this movie.
"Back By Midnight", although it may not have been Dangerfield's very
last film, is weak in every sense of the word. It wrapped filming in
2002 according to this website, but it was not released on DVD until
2005, the year after Dangerfield died. It's safe to say that it would
have stayed on the shelves if Dangerfield was still alive. I have been
a big fan of Dangerfield's since I was in my early teens, and it pains
me to see how rotten this film was.
What amazes me the most is that a number of other talented people took
part in a movie with a very weak premise to begin with. Dangerfield, a
great comedian who usually played his comic persona on film, is a
prison warden who houses a close knit group of inmates. When the owner
of the prison, Colonel-Tom-Parker-meets-Sam-Walton billionaire Eli
Rockwood (Randy Quaid), cuts funding for the prison, the warden sends a
group of inmates to break out of prison, rob Rockwood's eponymous
convenience stores of consumer goods, and break back into prison with
the loot. By taking what's in the convenience stores, they are (I
guess) taking what they believe Rockwood owes them.
With this flimsy premise, the movie sputters and stalls frequently. On
top of that, the jokes that you think would be this movie's salvation
are not even close to funny, not even from Mr. No Respect himself. That
is incredibly disappointing too, because you'd expect a movie with
Oscar-nominated (!!!) Randy Quaid, Kirstie Alley, Gilbert Gottfried, Ed
Begley Jr., Yeardley Smith, and others to be at least a little bit
funny. Instead, Quaid plays a character we've seen before in countless
other comedies, Alley plays a British heiress with an awful British
accent (could this movie not afford an actual British person!?!), and
every joke was poorly set up and poorly timed by virtually every member
of this ensemble. It was just a bad movie.
"Back By Midnight" was rated R mainly for language (and one scene of
nudity). The irony in this fact is that many of the jokes are so
audience insulting that even kids (if you edit out the language) would
walk out of this film. The physical gags are also incredibly
predictable, especially when Alley's pet monkey torments Quaid's
character. When the monkey grabs a pair of scissors and jumps on
Quaid's couch, who wouldn't know where that gag was going?
Being a direct-to-video comedy, of course I didn't expect any
Oscar-winning material on here. The truth is, though, Dangerfield has
made some great, timeless comedies before. "Easy Money" and "Back To
School" are hilarious still, and were definitely not Oscar-worthy in
the slightest. However, there's a difference between making a dumb
comedy that's funny, and making a dumb comedy. With the latter kind of
comedy, it seems like the filmmakers don't even try, which is precisely
the case with this lame excuse for a wasted 90 minutes. Rest in Peace,
Rodney, but add this film to your batch of forgettable comedies like
"Meet Wally Sparks" (1997) and "The Godson" (1999). This film, dare I
say it, is not even worth seeing..
jerry5388 watch Statistics movie
This might be a fun movie, hope someone puts it back up..
arty6911 watch Live Free Or Die movie
rodney very funny film .
ash49 watch And Soon The Darkness movie
this is comedy at its best.
Time capsule example of a 1* film
Put a DVD of this flick in a time capsule, and it will definitely
illustrate for future generations a perfect example of one which
warrants the minimal rating on a 1-to-10-star scale.
Bill Cosby and Ray Romano have been at the top - in ratings and with
tens of millions in earnings annually - with their television series'.
Yet each has had no success in big-screen offerings. This has also been
true for other TV personalities - perhaps because many of the stories
which are presented for two hours or so seem more suited to either a
10-minute skit, or at most, the 22 or 23 minutes of drama during a
This film, however, doesn't have one single element which would warrant
two or three minutes of time on MAD TV, SNL, or anywhere else on a
screen or stage.
Its origination date is listed as 2002, but release date - to DVD only
- is shown as 2004. It also was filmed not long before Rodney
Dangerfield's death, so its one redeeming value is that it probably
provided at lease a few hundred thousand more dollars for his heirs.
I'd never heard of it, but found it when turning-on my set, and frankly
became fascinated by it. Some movies are so truly awful that they rate
a sort of top rating in reverse - so bad that you can move the dial
backwards to a 9 or 10. "Plan 9 from Outer Space" is the best example -
and the Bruce Jenner/Village People opus, "Can't Stop the Music," is
Unfortunately this flick falls short even there. Even if Rodney's
earlier work (as well as some of his fellow cast-members') fell short
of "Citizen Kane" or "Casablanca," there were many moments of humor and
a story providing at least a modicum of interest.
Unfortunately, this presentation doesn't seem to possess even a minute
or two's worth of such material..