Owen Gleiberman
May 03, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Oscar

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
109 minutes
performer
Sylvester Stallone, Don Ameche, Tim Curry, Yvonne DeCarlo, Eddie Bracken, Joey Travolta, Chazz Palminteri, Peter Riegert, Harry Shearer, Kurtwood Smith, Vincent Spano, Marisa Tomei
director
John Landis
distributor
Touchstone Pictures
genre
Comedy

We gave it a D+

Sylvester Stallone isn’t completely without a sense of humor (he showed a comic instinct in Rocky), but the last place he belongs is at the center of a classically structured farce — the sort of thing in which entire subplots are predicated on the switching of identical suitcases. (If I never see another movie about mixed-up suitcases, you won’t hear me protesting.) In Oscar, based on a French play of the ’60s, he plays ”Snaps” Provolone, a Prohibition racketeer who, in the midst of trying to go straight, learns that his wily young accountant (Vincent Spano) is planning to marry his flapper daughter (Marisa Tomei) — except that the woman the accountant thinks is the daughter isn’t really the daughter at all, even though the flapper does want to be married, but to a different guy…oh, never mind. Director John Landis executes the mechanics of farce without a trace of the speed or effervescence this material demands. Every chuckle feels engineered. Stallone is reduced to playing straight man to a gaggle of stock Damon Runyon hoods, though Tim Curry, looking like a stuffed cod, brings a prissy, nerdish glee to the role of a madly obsequious linguistics professor. D+

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