In Big Trouble Leonard (Alan Arkin) is contacted by a woman named Blanche (Beverly D’Angelo). She inquires about opening up a life insurance policy on her husband Steve (Peter Falk). The catch is that Steve is close to death. You normally can’t open a life insurance policy on someone that is close to death. With money problems of his own, Leonard agrees to write the policy though in exchange for some of the proceeds. The catch is that the policy only pays out big if Steve dies in an unexpected fashion. While they hatch their plans, Leonard soon starts to realize everything might not be as it first seems.
I am not entirely sure what I think of Big Trouble. There are things that I liked about it, but it is far from a great movie.
The movie is billed as a comedy. I didn’t really think it was much of a comedy though. The premise actually has a lot of potential for comedy. I found the premise to be the most interesting thing about the film. The movie is somewhat interesting and can be slightly funny at times. It is pretty silly most of the time, and is far from realistic. There are things that I liked about it, that I think could have made for a pretty good movie.
The main problem is that I just didn’t find Big Trouble to be all that funny. I maybe laughed a couple of times, but not a lot. I honestly think the movie could have done more with the premise. Some of this might have had to do with the movie’s age. Comedy doesn’t always age the greatest and the movie is older than I am so that could have played a factor. That said some people might find the movie to be funnier than I found it.
The Cheap Detective
In the Cheap Detective Peter Falk plays Lou Peckinpaugh. Lou is a local detective who is wanted by the police after his business partner ends up dead. He is the police’s top suspect since he was having an affair with his partner’s wife. While trying to prove his own innocence, Lou is also tasked with finding a long lost treasure that several parties are interested in acquiring.
If I were to classify The Cheap Detective I would say that it feels like a parody. In particular it seems to be parodying old classic movies such as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon. After watching the film, I had conflicted feelings about it.
For a movie that is 45 years old, I was genuinely kind of surprised that at times it can be pretty funny. It never really reaches the laugh out loud level, but some of the jokes are pretty clever and funny. It seems to do a pretty good job making fun of tropes from classic movies. The movie is quite silly. Fans of parody movies and classic old movies should enjoy The Cheap Detective.
The main problem that I had with the movie is that it was quite hit and miss. I will preface this by saying that I haven’t actually see Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and many other movies from the era that this movie is trying to make fun of. That very likely had an impact on my enjoyment of the movie. You likely will get considerably more out of the film if you have seen and enjoyed the movies that The Cheap Detective is making fun of. While I enjoyed parts of The Cheap Detective, I found other parts to be kind of boring.
Happy New Year
In Happy New Year two con-artists/criminals plan a jewelry store heist. Nick (Peter Falk) and Charlie (Charles Durning) hatch their plan to scope out and rob the jewelry store by donning various disguises and personas to win the trust of the jewelry store manager. Their plans go awry though when Nick falls in love with Carolyn (Wendy Hughes) who owns an antique store across the street from the jewelry store that they plan to rob. Will the pair be able to pull off their heist successfully, or will love put a stop to their plans?
I had mixed feelings towards Happy New Year. There are things that I liked about the movie, and there are things that I think could have been better.
On the positive side I actually found the “heist” aspect of the movie to be kind of interesting. As a big fan of heist movies, this movie deviates from your typical movie from the genre. Instead of an action packed elaborate ruse, it is more about manipulation through various personas that they craft to gain the manager’s trust. There are some interesting elements to the movie that I haven’t really seen in other movies from the genre.
The main issue I had with Happy New Year is just that it is kind of slow. The movie bills itself as a comedy and I honestly didn’t really think it was all that funny. The movie is trying to be a romantic comedy. I personally would say that it feels more like a drama. I might have laughed a couple times at most. There are things I liked about the movie, but other times it dragged on a little too much.
In Luv Milt (Peter Falk) stops a former friend Harry (Jack Lemmon) from jumping off a bridge. For saving him Harry agrees to help Harry out with his wife Ellen (Elaine May). Milt no longer loves his wife and instead wants to marry Linda (Nina Wayne). Milt wants Harry to fall in love with his wife so she asks for a divorce. This would allow him to move on as well. Milt’s plan works a little too well where he soon realizes that he might still be in love with his wife.
After watching Luv I can’t say that I am a fan. While the movie is not terrible, it just never really engaged me. The premise behind the film is kind of ridiculous and goes way over the top at times. The film and play that it was based on was created back in the 1960s. It just doesn’t really translate all that well to the present day.
In a way the movie feels like your typical romantic comedy where it is quite obvious where it will eventually end up. The premise could have made for a good movie. It just ends up being very average. I think the biggest problem is that it just isn’t that funny. I might have laughed a couple times at most, but there were far more times that the movie tried to be funny and wasn’t. This is probably at least partially due to its age as it is over 50 years old at this point. I think it is also due to the fact that Jack Lemmon’s character is so far out there that it drags down the rest of the movie. Some people may enjoy Luv, but it wasn’t for me.
Video Quality and Extras
The video quality for the Peter Falk 4 Film Comedy Collection is pretty much what you would expect from 35-50 year old movies. The picture quality isn’t fantastic, but it is not bad either. This is not super surprising. Older films upgraded to Blu-ray are never going to look as good as new releases. You can tell that the video quality was upgraded for the Blu-ray release, but it is a little grainy as well. Since all of the movies are comedies and are not action packed, the video quality doesn’t make or break any of the films. The video quality is good enough for most people, but may be a little lacking if video quality is really important to you.
As for extras the movie does not have any special features for any of the films.
Buy Peter Falk 4 Film Comedy Collection Blu-ray: Amazon
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of Peter Falk 4 Film Comedy Collection used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the Blu-ray to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final scores.