• Easy Money/Men At Work

    Released By: Shout Factory
    Released On: August 25, 2015
    Director: James Signorelli/Emilio Estevez
    Cast:Rodney Dangerfield, Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Joe Pesci
    Year: 1983/1990
    Purchase From Amazon

    Easy Money:

    You know Rodney Dangerfield; he gets no respect. Or at least he doesn't seem to be able to get any in 1983's Easy Money, playing Monty Capuletti, a drinking, drugging, chain-smoking, gambling children's photographer. His daughter Allison's (Jennifer Jason Leigh) upcoming wedding brings his filthy-rich, department store-owning mother-in-law to visit, and she wastes no opportunity to remind Monty that her daughter could've done much better in the marriage department, and offering to cover the cost of the wedding.

    Despite his insistence that he's got everything together just fine without her help, Monty certainly doesn't do much to prove her wrong, losing money at the track and getting loaded after picking up the wedding cake his good buddy Nicky (Joe Pesci, with a bitchen pompadour). Unfortunately for the cake, Nicky also gets himself a skinfull of booze, culminating in a wreck that the cake won't walk away from.

    But when his mother-in-law passes away suddenly, Monty is surprised to hear that she's left him the bulk of her estate, with one condition; that he forego all of the vices that she abhors. If Monty wants to keep the cash, he'll have to give up smoking, drinking, drugs, and gambling, and he'll have to keep his weight in check by giving up his favourite greasy foods. It's certainly not going to be easy, with new neighbours generously offering up weed and a shifty relative determined to sabotage Monty so that the money will default to him, but Monty's biggest challenge will be deciding if it's worth giving up all of the things he loves for a life of luxury.

    There's not much going on in Easy Money that would qualify it as complex or multi-levelled; it's a straight ahead comedy vehicle for Dangerfield's brand of one-liners. Filling out the rest of the time with sight gags is a good waste of time, but the real comedy here comes from the supporting actors who rope in their performances, most likely to not outdo the star. And let me tell you, it works out wonderfully. Pesci is side-splittingly funny everytime he shows up onscreen, using his mannerisms and hairstyle to great comedic effect, and the real star of the show...Taylor Negron as Allison's new husband Julio absolutely slays everyone with his subdued Latino performance. Plugging along at a fairly good clip, Easy Money never really gets boring, and ends as an enjoyable piece of comedic entertainment, just as one would expect.

    Men At Work:

    Yes, Virgina, there was a time when Charlie Sheen was a well-respected actor and and not a TMZ trainwreck, and his brother Emilio Estevez was a well-respected actor and not a Mighty Duck. Actually, Estevez both wrote and directed Men at Work, the Tango and Cash of the sanitation world, and 25 years later, it holds up pretty well.

    Carl (Sheen) and James (Estevez) are two garbage men in the beachside city of Las Playas, just waiting for the moment that they can open their own surf shop. Spending the majority of the time on their route by half-assing the garbage collection, bowling with trash, raising the ire of the local bike cops, drinking beer and warring with other garbage collectors, Carl and James seem content to coast through life, solving most of their problems with a few bottles of Bud.

    But, they're about to get a dose of mandatory responsibility. When City Councilman/Mayoral Hopeful David Berger threatens to blow the whistle on offshore toxic waste dumping, his ecologically-unfriendly business partner Maxwell Potterdam III decides to have him killed. Berger flees to the apartment of his campaign manager, Susan, who also happens to be the woman that Carl has admired from his apartment across the way, courtesy of some high-powered binoculars. Mistaking Berger's frantic behaviour as abusive through telescopic lenses, Carl and James decide to calm him down by sniping him with their air rifle. But when he turns up in an oil drum along their garbage route the next morning, the two decide to befriend Susan to discover what really happened. Unfortunately, this puts them on the radar of Potterdam and his henchmen, who are convinced that they have an incriminating tape that could land him in jail. With the help of psychotic Vietnam vet Louis (Keith David) and a kidnapped pizza delivery boy, Carl and James come up with a plan that will hopefully put the bad guys away, keep them alive to open their surf shop, and get Carl a real grown-up girlfriend in spite of his lame ponytail.

    Much like Easy Money, Men at Work isn't going to dazzle with it's hidden meanings and intricate plot. It's straight, effective comedy played out largely due to the ability of Sheen and Estevez to subtly work off of each other, which they do superbly. The chemistry between the two is unsurprisingly brotherly, and the later addition of Keith David to the entourage creates an even more impressive dynamic. The story is straight forward, the sight gags are plentiful, and the film is funny and entertaining. Estevez keeps the film moving along at a good pace, and it doesn't seem to drag at all. Still not quite sure how it ended up double-teamed with Easy Money, but if you're looking for a couple of amusing films to pass an afternoon with, this is a decent, inoffensive way to do it.


    Both Easy Money and Men At Work are presented in 1.85:1 transfers, and they look good. Though there are some instances of dirt and such that pop up during both features, they're largely unaffected by visual flaws. Black levels are good, colour range is nice. These aren't reference quality prints, but they're as good as one would expect. Both films also have a DTS HD MA 2.0 track, and once again, they're both adequate and free of issues.

    A trailer for each film is included.

    The Final Word:

    Two good comedies on one disc...why not?

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Scott's Avatar
      Scott -
      EASY MONEY is probably my favorite comedy of all time.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Joe Pesci's hair owns it.