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Overall Rating
2.73

Awesome: 20.83%
Worth A Look: 20.83%
Average: 6.25%
Pretty Bad: 14.58%
Total Crap37.5%

3 reviews, 30 user ratings


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Man Who Knew Too Little, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Bill Murray deserves better vehicles than this."
1 stars

You have to be a Bill Murray fan, or in an especially generous mood, to find 'The Man Who Knew Too Little' more than mildly amusing. I fit into both categories, and I think I chuckled maybe twice.

Murray, a master of hostile irony, is sadly miscast here as Wallace, a wimpy Blockbuster Video clerk and failed actor who gets embroiled in an assassination plot. He does provide what few laughs there are, and he has a nice bit when he's tied up and suffering an allergy attack, trying not to sneeze. But think back on Murray's best roles. How many of them required him to play stupid? Demented, maybe -- Carl the gopher-hating greenskeeper in Caddyshack comes to mind -- but flat-out stupid, no.

Here, Murray has to be not only dumb but naďve. The only way Wallace prevails is by sheer idiotic luck. On his birthday, Wallace goes to London to visit his slick yuppie brother (Peter Gallagher), who signs Wallace up for a new interactive game called Theater of Life -- in which the player has simulated adventures with a troupe of role-playing actors. Unlike Michael Douglas in The Game, Wallace eagerly submits to the experience, which, unbeknownst to him, is real: some actual spies think he's a hit-man and order him to kill a woman (Joanne Whalley) who possesses some incriminating letters. Instead, he helps her stay a step ahead of her pursuers, while his "bosses" monitor him in bafflement.

Perhaps you're starting to feel how boring the plot is. Wallace keeps thinking that all the intrigue is just part of the game, while the spies keep thinking he's some fearsome assassin. When everyone on the screen is a moron, it's hard to stay interested in a movie or to find it funny. Given Murray's usual jaded persona -- think of Stripes and Ghostbusters -- wouldn't it be funnier if he'd played a cynical wise-ass who didn't take the danger seriously, going along with the "game" half-heartedly? Maybe, since Wallace works at Blockbuster, he might have seen all the Bond films on video and taken his cue from them. But Murray as an innocent dimwit really doesn't do it for me.

Then we have the obligatory action scenes without the spin needed to make them funny; most of this stuff was done better in 'Grosse Pointe Blank.' When Wallace is in a car chase and swerves to knock over a row of traffic cones, he says, "I've always wanted to do that." So have I, and that was one of the two times I laughed. The other time was later in the same scene, at an overhead shot of Wallace's car leading his pursuers around a roundabout. Otherwise I was glad I brought my watch and sorry I didn't bring a magazine.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=465&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/15/07 15:06:47
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User Comments

1/22/09 Skyler I peed myself multiple times. 5 stars
4/13/06 ES Oh yeah, it was funny 4 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer The logical successor to the Pink Panther legacy. 5 stars
7/29/05 Nobody Oh come on admit it, this movie sucks but it's FUNNY 4 stars
5/27/05 Heidi My favorite movie...as a kid, and now. I quote it all the time! 5 stars
5/22/05 Cham Underrated. 3 stars
4/10/05 judith anderson Slapstick fun. Reminds me of pink panther movies. 5 stars
3/23/04 Lord Haw Haw Yuck. Incredibly unfunny. 1 stars
1/16/04 Clément BERNADAC damn Jack Som... man you're far from the subject you're supposed to know... awesome movie! 5 stars
12/11/03 Helen Bradley Best fun film of the decade 5 stars
12/10/03 Samuel I thought it was sort of funny.. 3 stars
8/16/03 snowconehead Buckets of fun 4 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon I liked how Murray treated the little British tramp like the 'ho she was. 4 stars
5/09/03 mr. Pink Hugely dissapointing. even Murray can't salvage this. 1 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby Godawful. Not a laugh in site. Murray's worst film. 1 stars
8/28/02 Nevz I thought that this was hilarious! 4 stars
7/04/02 gary vidmar A very respectable comedy that got little hype. 4 stars
4/27/02 Valerie Cameron Underrated jewel of zany farce! Murray is in top form. 5 stars
3/04/02 Marcia Lartz Not realism of course, but loads of fun, I don't care what "critics" say. 5 stars
10/16/01 Andrew Carden Not One Of Bill's Best, but I Love The 3-Inches Away Gun Shooting Part. 3 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk Though inb the middle of Murray's slump...it was creative and damn funny at parts. 4 stars
5/05/01 The Chosen One funny as fuck, instant classic 5 stars
2/04/01 Turtle Hilarious and an original plot (I like that in a movie). 4 stars
10/22/00 Fishsticks Funny, funny stuff. 4 stars
9/06/99 the Grinch You Guys are on Crack! It was funny, Bill's best since GroundhogDay. The Book's better! 4 stars
2/07/99 Minority It was a good movie, damnit! 5 stars
11/16/98 Lord Of The Dunce A seriously moronic movie. Murray doesn't read his own scripts. 1 stars
9/15/98 Chip Taylor AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
9/08/98 Young Einstein The title describes anyone who paid to see this crud. Me included. 1 stars
8/29/98 Miss Stress it's a good thing i wasn't near any sharpe objects. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Nov-1997 (PG)

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