HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Easy Money/Men At Work
HTS Overall Score:62
WARNING: THE SCORES ABOVE ARE A COMBINED SCORE FROM BOTH FILMS, THE INDIVIDUAL SCORES ARE CONTAINED BELOW IN THE INDIVIDUAL SECTIONS OF THE REVIEW
What’s better than a couple of old comedies with a six pack of beer? I’d say a pair of old comedies in one double feature for the price of one. That’s something I can live with. It’s an odd pairing to say the least, but Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez’s “Men at Work” pairing up with Rodney Dangerfield in “Easy Money” raises some eyebrows. Neither one is in the same time period and neither one share a common theme, but humor abounds in either one of the two movies, and more Rodney Dangerfield is never a bad thing.
Easy Money :3stars:
Rodney Dangerfield is one of those comedians that will have your sides splitting at nearly every scene. Ugly as sin and reveling in the low brow humor of the 80’s, Dangerfield isn’t as hysterical as he is in “Caddyshack” or “Back to School”, but the chubby comedian gives more than enough laughs as a constantly frustrated father who has to deal with the marriage of his oldest daughter, Allison (Jennifer Jason Leigh) as well as the onset of a new fortune (with a few slight catches). Already out of his mind with the wedding of his precious baby girl, Monty Capuletti (Dangerfield) has to deal with his rich mother in law, Mrs. Monahan (played by the once stunningly beautiful Geraldine Fitzgerald), who never really liked his low brow, blue collar ways. His dreams come true when Mrs. Monahan dies in a plane crash and bequeaths all her money to him…. Only there is a catch. Monty has to give up drugs, booze, fatty foods, and start exercising and making a better man out of himself over the course of a year in order to qualify for the $10,000,000 inheritance, otherwise all the money goes to Mrs. Monahan’s weasley son (played by “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’s” Jeffrey Jones).
Doing his best may not be as easy as it seems for poor Monty. He’s not exactly highbrow, but he and his wife have a fun life, with a bunch of the vices that most people struggle with (just usually not all at once!). To make matters worse, Clive (Mrs. Monahan’s son) is doing everything he can to get Monty off the straight and narrow, even going so far as to publically humiliate the stressed out father in an effort to drive him to drink…Literally. However, this is a Dangerfield movie, and there’s always a crass and happy ending waiting at the end of this rainbow, and there’s even a surprise twist coming.
“Easy Money” isn’t Dangerfield’s best film, but it still gives more laughs than not in the brisk hour and a half runtime. I don’t there there’s a Rodney Dangerfield movie that you CAN’T laugh at (except maybe “Ladybugs”), and the fat comedian is at the peak of his acting career and knows how to work his core audience. The plot of the movie is fairly classic, even being portrayed slightly differently in the movie “The Gift” (not the recent one, but the early 2000 version), showing a man struggling to give up his vices to gain a LOT of money. There’s some down beats to the movie, but Dangerfield and Jeffrey Jones really keep the movie above water. Jeffrey Jones is perfect to play an utter sleaze ball, playing a slightly more restrained version of Principal Rooney from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to the T, with just enough repulsive jerk to love to loathe. Joe Pescis is a stinking BABY here, and while he doesn’t steer too far from his traditional “angry man” wheelhouse, he does a solid job as Monty’s best friend, Nicky.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=52210[/img]Men At Work :3stars:
Meet Carl (Charlie Sheen) and James (Emilio Estevez), two run of the mill garbage collector’s whose dreams of opening a surfboarding shop may come to a sudden end when they run into some criminal mayhem. Slumming it as garbage collectors until they can raise enough capital to open up their shop, the two make do with having as much fun in their mundane job as they possibly can. The only downside to that plan is ticking off pretty much everyone from your boss down to your coworkers, and even more than their fair share of customers as well. Even though they’re on probation and being forced to have their bosses brother in law, Louis (Keith David) chaperoning their routes, Carl spends his free time spying on the cute neighbors across the way from their apartment. This may seem like harmless fun, but when you witness the precursor to a murder and THEN find the body the very next day on your garbage route it may turn your life around. Trying to stay alive from the hitmen who are after any witnesses, the three men have to try and stay alive, and hopefully pick up their cute neighbor in the process.
“Men at Work” is written, directed and co-starring Emilio Estevez (who happens to be Charlie Sheen’s brother, just having kept their original family name), and is a bit uneven at times, but still more than enough fun. Some of the plot points don’t always work out, especially the whole surf shop thing. Besides a few lines here and there at the beginning, that particular storyline is never revisited again. The same goes for the actual toxic waste dump issue. The main villain is dumping gallons of toxic waste into the rivers, and they make it sound as if they’re going to catch it good, but it turns into a whole different type of movie once the buddy/buddy action mode sets in. Even the ending strays from the path, as the movie is fully slapstick all the time, but the last encounter with the villain turns into a goofy Disney cartoon of a battle.
Despite the unevenness, the two brothers really work well together, as they both push the boundaries of taste and propriety in a way that only brothers who have grown up together can do. Neither man is the straight man here, both playing off each other with incredible speed and both going back and forth between serious and goofy. Keith David really hams it up as the ex-Vietnam war turned babysitter for the two lunatics here. He seems stiff and stodgy at first, but once the action starts in the second half he goes from being a sourpuss to a full-fledged nut job with more than enough laugh time as well. I actually kind of wish the movie was rated R instead of PG-13. The Sheen and Estevez seem like they could have turned this a bit more funny with their boundary pushing if they had and while I had my fair share of belly laughs, it felt like it was playing it just a little TOO safe.
Rated R/Rated PG-13
Easy Money :3.5stars:
Both films actually look pretty good for their age. There’s not been any million + dollar restoration work done on them, but I have no real complains. “Easy Money” looks slightly better (by the barest of margins) over “Men at Work’ with a surprisingly clean and artifact free transfer. There’s some print damage here with a few speckles and some funky looking contrasts, but overall it’s a very solid transfer with more than enough detail to satisfy. Dangerfield’s craggy and wrinkled face shows up perfectly, although I thought I detected a little smoothing to the image. Blacks can be a bit problematic at times, but never egregiously so.
Men at Work :3.5stars:
“Men at Work” is also more than satisfying. Good detail and strong contrast lead to a nice, filmic image. I did notice a bit more print damage, with some wavering of the image along with the standard array of speckles and bits of dust on the print. Fine detail is solid, but won’t blow you away and the black levels are more than satisfactory. Neither film looks like they have been digitally altered too much, if at all, and the resulting image won’t blow you away like 4K restoration will, but for old beat up comedies that most likely will never see another remastering, fans should be pleased.
Easy Money :3.5stars:
Sporting a DTS-HD MA 2.0 lossless track, “The Outing” sounds a little bit better than it looks. With a 2.0 track you can expect the limited front soundstage of a non-surround track, but it replicates the theatrical experience Presented in DTS-HD MA 2.0, Easy money sounds solid enough for a stereo track. Vocals come through with authority and the front soundstage shows off quite a bit with all the antics that Dangerfield likes to pull. Clarity is strong and range is solid, but I noticed a distinct lack of punch to the track in the LFE department. Also there is a weird issue that sounds like the track was recorded too low and after boosting with your receiver a barely audible hiss comes through here and again. It’s never for very long, or very distinct, but it is noticeable if you’re listening.
Men at Work :3.5stars:
Given a very similar DTS-HD MA 2.0 track, “Men at Work” scores about the same. Dialog is strong, and range is solid, but the track lacks some definite umph to it. Especially considering the fact that it’s a semi action film. There’s some solid hits here and there, but it barely registers on my Sub amps. Also that same low volume is present, giving off the same barely audible hiss in some scenes. Both tracks are actually quite good, but unfortunately not as dynamic or as punchy as others of that same generation.
• Theatrical Trailer
Men At Work
• Theatrical Trailer
This double feature is a bit of an odd couple situation, with two tonally different comedies sharing the same disc. However, neither of these movies were ones that I would have expected coming out on their own, so the blending of the styles is more than acceptable to this film nerd. “Easy Money” is b-grade Dangerfield, with all the nastiness and blue collar humor that the guy was known for, while “Men at Work” makes for a fun experiment by the Estevez brother’s for Emilio’s first time at the director’s chair. Audio and video are solid enough for a couple of 25 and 32 year old movies, with the only weak link in the chain being the complete lack of extras besides a trailer. Definitely fun for a laugh.
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Keith David : Rodney Dangerfield, Joe Pesci, Jeffrey Jones
Directed by: James Signorelli : Emilio Estevez
Written by: Rodney Dangerfield, Michael Endler : Emilio Estevez
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC/1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 (Both Films)
Studio: Shout Factory
Rated: R : PG-13
Runtime: 96 minutes : 98 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 25th, 2015
Buy Easy Money/Men at Work Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Fun for a Watch
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