Other People's Money (1991 Review

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A corporate raider threatens a hostile take-over of a traditional steel company. The owner of the company enlists the help of his wife's daughter, who is a lawyer, to try and protect the company. The raider is enamoured of her, and enjoys the thrust and parry of legal manoeuvring as he tries to win her heart.


Adapted from a hit off-Broadway play, this has been hammered into what passes in Hollywood for a “thoughtful” movie, with Jewison pompously directing yet another sugar-coated bitter pill, tiresomely re-hashing all the obvious clichés about caring versus cash while treating the whole enterprise as a shameless vehicle for the sit-com talents of its star, Danny DeVito, who always takes care not to appear in a shot with a tell-tale door handle above his shoulder when he’s directing himself, is made to seem a lot shorter by Jewison than usual. His gawky, attention-grabbing act, however, which includes excellent delivery of all the script’s generous helping of funny lines, works less well here than it used to, mainly because DeVito, with Taxi and Ruthless People way behind him, is no longer interested in not seeming lovable.Not only does DeVito’s amiable bumbling castrate his scumbag part, but his roly-poly character comedian status robs his persistent wooing of the heroine of any sexual tension — the story would work better if Larry were played by someone creepily attractive like Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko and renders the few scenes where Miller, doing her best Annette Bening smoulderalike act, seems to respond genuinely to the grotesque runt’s romantic overtures.

With all the supporting characters shoved in to the background where their stories won’t upstage De Vito and a grasp of economics that seems to come from Janet And John At The Stock Exchange this is only intermittently worthwhile for its bitter wisecracks