Plot: The Crumb lineage has produced a chain of top notch detectives, but that heritage is somewhat in jeopardy these days. You see, the last of the Crumbs, Harry (John Candy) is not as disciplined as those before him, and he bumbles his cases, often with disastrous results. As such, he has never been allowed to play at the top level, but his chance at greatness has just arrived. The case? The daughter of a multimillionaire has been kidnapped, with a ten million dollar ransom in the balance. Why would the firm give clumsy Harry the job? Simple. His boss Eliot (Jeffrey Jones) doesn’t want the case solved at all, so he knows Harry has no chance at figuring out the mystery. But Harry gives the case his all, even working together with the wealthy man’s other daughter (Shawnee Smith) to track down clues before it’s too late. Can Harry prove that he belongs on the same level with his forefathers, or did Eliot choose the right man for the job, the botch job, that is.
Entertainment Value: This might not be a comedy classic, but Who’s Harry Crumb? manages to sneak in some laughs and is powered by a terrific cast, headlined by John Candy. The narrative here is a fun one, allowing Candy to be the black sheep of an otherwise masterful line of detectives and the material puts him into plenty of off the wall scenarios. But while seeing Candy in all the wild costumes and disguises has some potential, it winds up masking his inherent talent and the movie might have worked better if it leaned on his natural comedic skills. The tone is much zanier than his typical (and more popular) movies and the focus is more on ridiculous outfits, slapstick style humor, and sight gags, which don’t allow Candy to put much heart into the performance, which is one area he normally shines. That Candy and the rest of the cast are able to get as much mileage out of the script as they do is a testament to their skills, but they can only do so much in this case. Even so, Who’s Harry Crumb? is not even close to the lower tier comedies out there and while it isn’t on par with Candy’s best, it offers some fun and is worth a look for his fans.
As you can tell from above, the main draw of this one is the cast, especially with John Candy in an enthusiastic lead role. You can knock the writing in the movie or the outlandish disguises, but you can’t say Candy doesn’t do his best to make it work, as he brings his usual high energy performance to the table. In lesser hands, this would have been a total bomb, but Candy is able to eke out at least a few laughs with his presence and elevate the material a little. As I said before, all the costumes and such dampen his natural comedic persona, but he tries to make it all work and even in one of his lesser roles, he is fun to watch. He might not have been able to save the ship from sinking, but he works some minor wonders with the troubled script. I also think Shawnee Smith is a lot of fun here, as she embraces the wackiness and delivers some memorable moments, including some wild shared scenes with Candy. The cast also includes Joe Flaherty, Jim Belushi, Annie Potts, and Tim Thomerson.
The Disc: Mill Creek’s Blu-ray for the movie looks fine, but is clearly in need of a new scan or restoration. The image looks worn at times and the visuals don’t snap off the screen, instead yielding a passable, but unremarkable treatment. This is likely due to having to make due with whatever elements Sony provided, as we’ve seen on other titles licensed from that studio. The colors look terrific, but otherwise is a rather bland, basic visual presentation.
Use this Amazon link to purchase Who’s Harry Crumb? (or anything else) and help support my site!