Plot: Vinnie Antonelli (Steve Martin) is a smooth criminal, quite literally, as he is a mobster who has agreed to testify against his former colleagues. He is removed from his social butterfly lifestyle in New York and placed in a small, quiet town, quite the shift in tone. His wife is unable to handle this new life, so she leaves him, but Vinnie remains and tries to make the best of the situation. As it happens, his FBI handler Barney (Rick Moranis) is also newly single, after his wife left him for a young baseball player, so the two strike up a bit of a bond over their common lot. Soon Vinnie tries to show Barney how to have a little more style and cool factor, in an effort to to help win woo the heart of local district attorney Hannah (Joan Cusack). All the while however, Vinnie keeps getting into mischief and drawing Hannah’s ire, as Barney has to come down and bail him out over and again. With a new lease on life, will Vinnie be able to change his criminal ways, or is he doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past?
Entertainment Value: A blend of fish out of water and odd couple dynamics, My Blue Heaven leans on the skills of the two leads, with Steve Martin and Rick Moranis trying to make the most of out of the uneven material. Martin dials up his antics a few notches and teeters on the brink of over the top, but manages to reel things in and just come off as a bold, larger than life persona. He carries the movie, but gets plenty of help from Moranis, who is also quite fun to watch here. The movie works best when these two can play off each other, whether in active set pieces like the merengue number or more grounded, basic situations. The chemistry between them is effective and the banter can really bring some solid laughs. In essence, I think when they’re together or the focus is on Martin, the movie sails smoothly, but when it tries to explore side plots, things kind of slow down. This can mean some scenes drag a little and aren’t up to the same level as others. But overall, I think My Blue Heaven has a lot to offer, especially for fans of Martin and Moranis.
No nakedness. No blood. There are some gun shots fired, but they all miss and given the tone of the movie, the lack of blood and sleaze is not a problem. The dialogue is solid and has some quotable lines, even if the overall narrative is a little hit and miss with some of the choices. Martin really plays the flashy mobster persona to the hilt, veering into parody at times, but it still suits the material. A lot of the credit for the humor can be given to Martin’s mannerisms and line work, as he makes even basic banter much funnier than it should be here. Moranis also has some fun lines as the hapless Barney, while Cusack has some bright spots as well. So perhaps not the sharpest comedic lines around, but more than solid dialogue in this one. This one isn’t all wild, but Martin’s often manic performance is enough to earn a solid point. Otherwise, My Blue Heaven sticks within the usual comedic conventions.
Overall Insanity: 1/10