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Quick Change
1990 - R - 88 Mins.
Director: Howard Franklin, Bill Murray
Producer: Bill Murray, Robert Greenhut
Written By: Howard Franklin
Starring: Bill Murray, Geena Davis, Randy Quaid, Jason Robards, Phil Hartman, Tony Shalhoub, Philip Bosco, Stanley Tucci
Review by: Carl Langley

A little freaky deaky clown love
Back before Bill Murray was Wes Anderson’s director’s pet and before he made headlines with his tour de force performance in Lost in Translation, he was an uproarious, goofy comedian, as opposed to his presently dark, subtler comedic nature. Quick Change marked the only time Murray attempted at sitting behind the camera, but he shared credit with Howard Franklin (The Public Eye) as he was chaperoned throughout the filming process. Murray was in his prime then, so why not take a shot at directing? Coming off worldwide success from the Ghostbusters films, Murray followed with three gut-busting performances in Quick Change, What About Bob?, and Groundhog Day. Sadly, Murray lost that magical touch, starring in a couple flops before regaining ground on different turf in Rushmore and then peaking out once again in Sofia Coppola’s wonderful film.

His directorial debut is enthralling and it makes one wonder what he is capable of on his own if he put forward full effort. For some odd reason, I have this premonition that the world will never be able to discover this. Bill Murray was once at the top of his game and then tumbled pretty hard (Larger Than Life, The Man Who Knew Too Little, etc.). After few supporting roles, he managed to regain much needed territory and now is in a position to have a memorable career. Directing on his own would be testing new water and he will not take any more chances. Either way, with Quick Change, we get to sniff, even taste, the comic possibilities when he is in full control.

Murray stars as Grimm, who is first seen dressed as a clown, walking into a bank and threatening to blow the building up unless he gets what he asks for – you know the typical bank robbery, save the clown suit. Eventually, we discover that two of his hostages – Geena Davis sporting a blonde wig as Phyllis Potter and the wisecracking Randy Quaid as Loomis – are actually his accomplices. Actually, this devious arrangement is masterly planned and it makes one wonder how it would turn out in the real world (I am not condoning any bank robberies, so do not take it that way). The first half is spent outsmarting the police, playing games with their head in sagaciously hilarious manner.

The second half features Grimm, Phyllis, and Loomis struggling to escape to the airport. Obstacles come along in the form of foreign cab drivers (Tony Shalhoub), robberies in progress, angry mobsters (Stanley Tucci in an early role), strict bus drivers, and of course, the police. This includes the hungry chief of police, Henry Rotzinger (Jason Robards). The funniest moments derive from here. And isn’t it ironic that the threatening complications come after the successful sting? The sharp, witty one-liners from Murray and the setup from Quaid are at times too much to handle; you may have to leave the couch for a bathroom break before you wet yourself. The film follows its title, changing scenes rapidly, diversifying bizarrely luckless situations like Elizabeth Taylor with her husbands. Something occurs so frequently, the flaws fly by unnoticed. This non-stop fun is definitely one of Bill’s zaniest. Many say Ghostbusters shot Murray to fame, but Quick Change started his hitting streak.
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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