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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 74 - Getting Away With Murder (1996)

So when does a black comedy become a sick and vile comedy?  It’s kind of a hard line to draw I guess.  The Cable Guy was unsettling, mainly because of Jim Carrey’s creepy performance, but Harold and Maude was a great film and was also quite funny, given the bizarre behavior of the young teen who constantly simulates his own suicide in a comical fashion.  What makes Getting Away With Murder unsettling is pretty much the whole premise, which delves into paranoia, guilt, depression, and makes fun of all of them...  Offensively.  Get ready for a riot guys!

The plot follows a professor(Dan Aykroyd) who becomes convinced that his neighbor  (played by Jack Lemmon) is a famous Nazi war criminal, a former concentration camp officer.  He then decides to execute justice for the supposed killer’s victims and murders the old man.  Raddled with guilt, he begins a slow decline and decides the only way to resolve his own pain is to marry his victim’s daughter (Lilly Tomlin).  So he divorces his own wife (played by Bonnie Hunt) and marries the new woman, who is a little nuts herself.

So this scumbag kills a man, whines about it, then leaves his wife to marry another woman just to feel better about himself.  There are no redeemable qualities to this character.  Jack Lemmon’s Max Mueller seems like a perfectly nice guy, still this film twists and turns the plot points to manipulate every situation, feeling less like paranoia vs. reality and more like the writer was just changing the facts to suit what was happening.  Because this plot is so full of crap, the movie reveals that Max Mueller might just have been this famous Nazi commander after all.  So everything is allllllll right!  No!  No it isn’t!  This is a twisted, vile movie!  

We’re told by this film that just because of this guy’s past he has no rights.  Thus, this movie basically says that it’s okay to kill whoever you want as long as they are bad guys.  Forgetting the twisted message just for a moment, this is just a bad movie.  The acting is dreadful, the story is offensive and the jokes aren’t funny.  

With a terrible screenplay and a very bad performance by Aykroyd in particular, Getting Away With Murder is a perfect storm of offensive and just plain pathetic comedy.  The film even has the balls to try to give us some nonsense about justice and crap.  I hated this movie because of its willingness to completely throw reason out the window in lieu of a dumb morality tale about guilt in the guise of a sick comedy. 

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