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Overall Rating
3.06

Awesome30.65%
Worth A Look: 19.35%
Average: 4.84%
Pretty Bad: 16.13%
Total Crap: 29.03%

3 reviews, 44 user ratings


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Oscar (1991)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Stallone's Best Comedy...but is that REALLY a compliment?"
2 stars

Believe it or not...I went to college. And one of the coolest things about college is this: movie studios used to run a lot of test screenings for the coeds. Temple University had four or five of these screenings a semester, usually on Friday afternoons. Talk about incentive to skip class! (As if I needed MORE.) So back in '91 they ran "Oscar" for us, and I distinctly remember enjoying it and also being surprised by that fact. So now it's over ten years later and a recent DVD release has allowed me to revisit with this forgotten (and periodically derided) little farce.

I slid the disc into my player and sent my face on cringe. What was I thinking back then? Urggh is this a broad and belabored and strained little sitcom. I've always been a huge fan of "several actors bumping into each other" movies, hence my admiration for flicks like Clue and Noises Off! and Scavenger Hunt. (Sue me.) But Oscar only occasionally flirts with the breathless lunacy of well-conceived farce - and there are huge, painful gaps in between the few worthwhile gags.

The plot sees Angelo Provolone (it's funny cuz it's a cheese) as a 1930's mob boss who (thanks to a goofy deathbed promise) must now go completely legit. All of the action (and there's quite a bit) takes place in one afternoon, as easily a dozen frantic characters parade through Provolone's estate. There's a devious suitor for Angelo's daughter, a prim and proper professor, a priest, a few tailors, several lowlifes and henchmen, irritated spouses, disillusioned servants, pissed-off policemen, etc., etc.

Although I don't dig Oscar nearly as much as I used to, I still think it's light years better than the other "comedies" that Sly has headlined. Then again I'm comparing it so dreck like Rhinestone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! and the sorta-comedy Avenging Angelo, so we're not exactly talking high praise here.

Oscar is probably worth seeing for the performances of Tim Curry (he earns the only real OUT LOUD "haha" laughs in the movie), Peter Riegert (clearly having a ball in pseudo-Three Stooges mode), Kurtwood Smith (not doing much of anything, but Kurt's always cool), Bill Atherton (doing his patented smarmy asshole schtick) and the truly inspired work of Martin Ferrero and Harry Shearer as tailors mistaken for hit-men.

The bulk of the problem lies in Stallone himself; he simply seems WAY too self-aware - plus the flick is directed rather languidly by Landis. The movie absolutely screams "stage adaptation" and the actors seem to know they're in a 'madcap farce', while Landis apparently doesn't.

Have Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny, Greedy, Clue) direct this movie and I bet I'd love it.

One noteworthy aspect that may make the movie fun for film freaks is the astonishingly large cast.

You got Sly Stallone trying hard and Kirk Douglas in a silly-yet-fun cameo; you got a young (and frankly awful) Marisa Tomei channeling Betty Boop and the ever-sultry Ornella Muti (who clearly should avoid comedy); there's Chazz Palminteri just before he got real big (and then real small again) and Don Ameche added just for some 'real-movie' credibility; the flick looks like a "who's-who" of hard-working character actors: Art LeFleur, Mark Metcalf, Atherton, Ferrero, Ken Howard, Richard Romanus, Joey Travolta...and I swear I even saw Lilly Munster herself.

So yeah: there's some fun to be had. On the whole I'd say it's a very clumsy comedy with a handful of really inspired moments. It deserves the relative obscurity it's mired in, though in no way does Oscar deserve the derision usually reserved for Stallone's other comedic efforts.

Odd that the director behind stuff like Animal House and The Blues Brothers would deliver such a stale piece of slapstick. Certainly worthy of a 'curiosity value' visit on cable TV late one night, but not much more.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1026&reviewer=128
originally posted: 06/16/03 19:26:57
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User Comments

2/23/15 Bernard Saylor "oscar" is a horrible movie with some really hammy "acting". 1 stars
1/03/15 roger mycock dire dire .spano is awful.hard to think of a worst lead than stallobe.tomei is awful.only g 1 stars
11/22/14 jack The pic was Funny! Sly is Funny! Reviewer is wrong! 3 stars
9/26/12 scott the best sly movie ever. the cast was great starts slow then kicks into high gear. funny :- 4 stars
3/07/11 Joe Shuffield a wonderful comedy that doesn't take itself seriously, something the critics do too much 4 stars
1/12/11 PAUL SHORTT CREAKY ATTEMPT AT A SCREWBALL COMEDY 2 stars
1/06/09 Bethany Cox Loved it!One of Stallone's best films 5 stars
4/11/08 mr.mike Does'nt come alive until the final 20 minutes or so. "Rhinestone" was actually funnier. 2 stars
3/17/08 Norm This movie is good, enjoyable entertainment. Reviewers are full of 'emselves. 5 stars
5/31/07 Bill D. Very funny film, I've gone through 3 copies we love it so much. Stallone is terrific. 5 stars
3/14/06 Bernardo Arteaga It's a good movie, interesting, funny and well executed. Sly does a fine job 4 stars
11/21/05 Yepper I. Gotone I watch to be entertained, and I was! 4 stars
6/28/05 blackcobra its damn good good movie..i coudnt get in india i ordered it from US ..its very hilarious 5 stars
6/01/05 My name This movie is absolutely awesome, reviews are not 5 stars
4/09/05 Larry Weisberg Has to be seen to be appreciatd. A very funny comedy. Stallone shines. 4 stars
1/23/05 Jeff Anderson STALLONE'S ACTUALLY GOOD AND VERY FUNNY IN THIS, I'M NOT KIDDING AROUND! J. LANDIS ROCKS! 5 stars
9/28/04 a.h. This movie was soo funny! There wasn't one point in the movie where I wasn't laughing! 5 stars
9/16/04 Dean Martin it's a funny one 4 stars
9/03/04 AvillaGuy This is a hilarious movie; ignore the stuffy review 5 stars
9/01/04 Simon Conway Proof that the US can produce something worthwhile. 5 stars
5/19/04 Mihai Perhaps the humour was too subtle for the poor reviewers... my jaws still hurt! 5 stars
5/12/04 John a comedy with a nice wink and some charm 4 stars
4/28/04 Tim of Angle The reviewers seem unable to appreciate anything above the level of a "Sienfeld" episode. 5 stars
4/18/04 Sherrie Robbins I think the the movie was fantastic 5 stars
10/31/03 Amanda Smith A move to watch when you need a good laugh. 5 stars
10/08/03 Erik Van Sant Un-Fucking-Believable how awful this movie is. John Landis's career-killer. 1 stars
7/28/03 Eric Carter Hilarious Film Marissa Tormei was hysterical 5 stars
7/18/03 Jared Most hilarious movie. Nearly every line has at least a subtle joke. Reviewers? 2 slow 4 it? 5 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Unremarkable but charming little comedy. Stallone is perfect. 4 stars
3/03/03 Jeff W. My wife and I thought it was histarical! Tim Curry was Great. If was very clever. 5 stars
1/22/02 Dorothy The movie is not that great, but Tim Curry is wonderful in it!!!!!! 3 stars
8/14/01 Jeffromail This movie is SO underrated 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen...John landis has sucked ever since 1 stars
6/20/01 wsmith I laughed a lot. Chazz's great 5 stars
3/13/01 Th. Mosa Critics might say that the movie is bad, but I know that it is quite amusing. 4 stars
3/06/01 Jake Just go in with an open mind and you will be delighted. Extremely enjoyable! 5 stars
2/27/01 Jonathan Doan Wasn't near as bad as "Stop, or my Mom will shoot" 4 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla First time, loved it , second time, hated it , third time, wanted to fucking kill somebody 1 stars
10/07/99 sophia962 Stallone does French Farce. Believe it or not. Doesn't suck which amazes me still. 4 stars
9/08/99 Steve Vey funny. Stallone is surprisingly good. And nice bits from Tim Curry, Harry Schearer,... 4 stars
9/05/99 godsdog Yo! Just turn yo cap around like a switch, an go for it! I'm gonna go for it, so should u! 2 stars
10/30/98 Negative Creep Good script. Too bad the acting and comedic timing wasnt as good as the material 3 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob Whoa!!!! What the hell did Landis do in a past life, to get this shit foisted on him? 1 stars
9/26/98 MR HOLLYWOOD!! Didnt understand a word sly said......... 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Jan-1991 (PG)

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