8 Heads In A Duffel Bag Review

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Mob hitman Joe Pesci is entrusted with a simple task: deliver a duffel bag containing eight severed heads to one of his bosses. However, when the bag gets accidentally switched at an airport, the body count soon rises in this peculiar black comedy.


Given that the sight of Joe Pesci starring as a mobster has become all too familiar over the years, it comes as no surprise to learn he is at it again. This time out, though, the GoodFella is playing for laughs.

Tommy (Pesci) is a workaday wiseguy, the kind who does what he's told. So when he has to detach and deliver eight heads to his boss as proof of a hit, he simply gets on with the job. He just didn't reckon on those old reliables of wacky farce - the officious prick and the identical bag. Said prick is an airline steward who makes him stow his headular luggage; innocent abroad medical student Charlie (Comeau) has similar luggage. So Charlie - on his way to meet girlfriend Kristy Swanson's parents for tea (an equally tanned Dyan Cannon and George Hamilton) - ends up with nothing to wear for tea and an octupular set of craniums. Pesci meanwhile ends up with a bit of bother and Charlie's roommates to torture.

Writer-director Schulman's script is workmanlike in the gag department, for the most part relying on the cast to sell it by virtue of their familiarity - casting Pesci sells you the fact that he's a wiseguy, casting Cannon and Hamilton lets you know these are shallow Beverly Hills-type denizens. Among the overly familiar, the relatively fresh Comeau and Swanson come across as little more than anodyne generics.

Pesci verges on self-parody but at least knows where the joke lies and gives it that old Mafia school try. Only Saturday Night Live veteran David Spade provides some saving grace, delivering his lines with the disdain they mostly deserve and finding laughs wherever possible. Otherwise, this is merely an unfortunate waste of a decent idea.

With the darkness of the comedy sitting uncomfortably with some of the sunnier material, this Mob comedy is a bit of a misfire. Pesci and Spade combine well, though.