Oscar Review

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Angelo "Snaps" Provolone promised on his father's deathbed that he would go straight, but his bit to leave the underworld behind is beset by problems. Not least Oscar, who has just got his daughter pregnant.


Another mobsters spoof and here it’s Sly Stallone trying hard as 20s gangster-trying-to-go-respectable Snaps Provalone. Stallone is not a funny guy. In real life, when he tells a joke people probably laugh — well, you would, wouldn’t you? — but on screen his idea of getting yuks is shouting and making faces.

What is funny is that everyone else pronounces the bull-necked one’s name Pro-valone, but he imperturbably mispronounces it Pre-valone. Happily for Sly, his at least amiable performance is practically suave next to that of one Marisa Tomei as his loud daughter.

Presumably director Landis urged all concerned to bellow and mug, since even reliable citizens like Peter Riegert distinguish themselves by being remarkably unamusing. The deal is that Snaps is going legit, his embezzling accountant (Vincent Spano) wants to become his son-in-law, a mob rival wants to murder him, the cops want to jail him, his maid’s eloping with some geezer and his wife’s entertaining a priest, all on the same day.

There are also three identical bags that do the rounds, one full of cash, one full of jewels, and one full of scanty underwear. Thus the Provalone house fills up with hoods, bankers, tailors, suitors, chauffeurs, clergymen and Tim Curry as a (much-needed) elocution teacher, all laboriously switching valises, getting engaged, threatening GBH or going in and out of rooms.

Yes, it’s rather like an old French farce — except that this sort of thing needs to be done at twice the speed Landis gallumps through here to be the least bit, er, riotous. As for the eponymous Oscar, he’s not actually a participant in the goings on at Casa Provalone ; he’s a recently departed chauffeur who may or may not have impregnated someone or other. There are cameos from Kirk Douglas, Yvonne De Carlo, Don Ameche and, um, Linda “Sue Ellen” Gray that scarcely improve matters.

The word that comes to mind is weak.