Quick Hit: An average, zany comedy that made me chuckle at times and cringe at others.
Welcome to our continued Christmas marathon! I really hope you at least enjoyed the post of Reindeer Games instead of the movie itself. Today we move onto the 1994 comedy Mixed Nuts, starring Steve Martin, as well as a plethora of comedy stars from the 90s (and a very surprise role by Mr. Liev Schreiber). Anyways, on with the show!
Mixed Nuts follows Phillip (is it just me, or does Steve Martin always play people with names like Phillip), the owner of Lifesavers, a suicide hotline. He’s on the verge of being evicted, at least one employee hates him, and the other is in love with him. He needs only $5000 (seemingly a paltry sum – the nineties were a different time) to keep his business afloat.
This movie features so many characters that are typical of each one of their characters. Phillip is exactly what you would expect of Martin – a few scenes where he gets angry, a few scenes where he is a loveable schmuck, and a few more scenes where he performs some wacky physical comedy. Adam Sandler cameos as a young man that lives downstairs, and walks around with a ukulele and sings improvised songs (the voice he uses is the same high, squeaky voice present in his songs from SNL and Billy Madison). Rita Wilson plays a young, slightly mousy woman who inevitably finds her sexy side. And Juliette Lewis plays as a young pregnant woman who is slightly hoosier and very rough.
As I said, typical characters.
But, what saves it is the pure zaniness of it all. At one point, a man is shot through the door. A vet (played by Rob Reiner) fixes a man’s injury. A cross-dressing man is shot in the foot, after performing a dance routine with Steve Martin. There is so much going on that occasionally the movie can’t help but have some humor that lands home.
Speaking of a transvestite, Liev Schreiber steals every scene he is in. There’s a particularly funny scene he shares with Martin where the light continually blinks out. It’s bound to be a bit less “PC” in our 2016 climate (Martin’s homophobia comes across as particularly alarming), but there is still enough there to hold it. Schreiber, who never once breaks character, ends up being the heart and soul of a few scenes, and when he exits stage left, you long for his return.
In the end, you get the ending that you were expecting all along, but this is one of the cases that a typical ending is ok – you don’t mind seeing the characters happy at the end. I’m going to give the movie a “B-“.
For more on this, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"