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|Contributor||Julian Fellows, Tom Hanks, Richard Briers, Tom Baker, Shelley Long|
|Runtime||1 hour and 28 minutes|
A New York couple (Tom Hanks and Shelley Long) buy a bargain basement house in the country, but when they try to turn it into their dream home, they realise why it was so cheap. Not only do they have to deal with the structural integrity of the building, but also with the conning and conniving builders and plumbers they employ to rebuild it.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language : English
- Package Dimensions : 19.2 x 13.6 x 1.6 cm; 80 Grams
- Manufacturer reference : 3259190240124
- Run time : 1 hour and 28 minutes
- Release date : 18 June 2003
- Actors : Julian Fellows, Richard Briers, Tom Baker, Shelley Long, Tom Hanks
- Dubbed: : Czech, Hungarian
- Subtitles: : English, Romanian, Greek, Arabic, Czech, Turkish, Hungarian
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : Universal
- ASIN : B00009QNY5
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 49,769 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- 38,000 in Movies (Movies & TV)
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In 1948, H. C. Potter directed comedy icons Cary Grant and Myrna Loy in a sweet, funny film version of Eric Hodkins’ 1946 novel ‘Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House’. That film is full of wonderful set pieces, but is particularly enriched by brilliantly written dialogue. This 1986 film, which has Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer, has been described as an ‘unofficial remake’. In truth, the screenplay is entirely new, there is no reference to ‘Mr Blandings…’, and the reason that the 1980s couple buy their wreck is entirely different from the one driving the Blandings ~ but there is a family resemblance.
In this film, the unwise couple are played by Tom Hanks as Walter, in one of his earliest roles, and Shelley Long as Anna, his Orchestral violinist girlfriend. They are very good, very believably naive and desperate, and incredibly likeable. And as with ‘Mr Blandings…’, there are several very funny and nicely colourful supporting characters, such as Alexander Godunov as the utterly self-obsessed conductor, Max; and Joe Mantegna and Carmine Caridi, as the decidedly dubious local contractors, Art and Brad Shirk.
They are blessed by a film as chock-full of excellent visual gags, stunts and set pieces as the earlier film. The director was Richard Benjamin, who moved from acting to film and TV directing. This is probably his best-known work, which is a pity, as some of his direction here is inspired; one feels that anyone who could deliver some of the fast-paced action on display in this film, had a whole lot more to give. Some of the choreography is quite stunning, and I advise watching some of the film from behind the settee, if you are (like us) in the process of moving house! If there is a puzzle, it is probably why anyone voluntarily purchases such a mansion (it is on Long Island, and was built in 1898, in the ‘Colonial’ style) but it is very enticing.
I’d suggest that the dialogue, whilst it is witty, is not quite as inspired as ‘Mr Blandings…’, but on the other hand, this is a handsome colour film, and the musical score is especially attractive. We are treated to Bach, Donizetti and Sammy Davis Jr.
Various critics have expressed the view that this film is really one long sight gag that slightly runs out of steam. That is true to a degree, and in a way, perhaps the film underperforms, given the lovable stars and the engaging premise. But this remains a very funny, very gentle, very enjoyable film, and 90 minutes of Tom Hanks is rarely a waste of time. 4 warm and charming Stars.
The basic plot is a lovely couple who manage to bag a bargain mansion and then find it needs virtually replacing piece by piece hence the title, Hanks and Long have very good chemistry and sell the ridiculously long list of things that happen to them as believable, unlikely but funnily believable, and the films running time seems to fly by and you go through the tribulations with them just hoping it will all resolve itself, of course I'm not going to ruin the ending, but it does more than satisfy the time spent.
Mozart is dead, his troubles are over.
He went on to be a big mover in the acting world did Tom Hanks, so much so it's always a little weird revisiting his comedy output in the 1980s because he's a vastly different actor. Yet for many of us, that decade holds many treasures, where nostalgic fever takes a hold and a warm glow does come with watching the young Hanks bound about with comedic glee. The Money Pit doesn't have the cult worship of Splash or the internet respect of Big, yet it's a wonderfully funny picture that finds Hanks on optimum energised form. The plot might be thin and Long kind of gets pushed to one side, but this has much to enjoy with a bottle of vino and snacks. That is, of course, if you don't mind laughing at the misfortune of new home owners?!
I am sinking fast into the money pit.
A number of sequences are pure farce, but in the good way, stairs collapse, as does the chimney, doors, floors and a leaking roof bring the mirth, as does a laugh out loud bath moment. It sounds a little chaotic, and it is at times, but the screenplay allows Hanks & Long, and the wonderful Godunov, time to breath life into the characters. There's a lovely romance at the core of the story, one that inevitably will be tested by the chaos of the house renovations and Godunov's third party ex. They are a very likable couple and easy to root for. Helps that Hanks is full of effervescent boyishness and Long is so pretty, the latter of which I don't think has ever looked better than during a red dress sequence here.
If the foundation is OK? Then everything else can be fixed.
It doesn't have any surprises in store, it goes exactly where you expect it too, which naturally renders the final third as being all about the sentiment and the message. With the comedy gone, picture struggles a touch to put the final coat of paint on the project. But it's nicely underplayed by the actors and really this is about love triumphant against adversity. With the laughs that came previously more than making this a blues lifter for the nostalgic amongst us. 7.5/10