Director Joe Marzano pays tribute to the hard-boiled film noirs of yore with ONE LESS EGG TO FRY, a super-low-budget feature that displays more guts than Hollywood's cynical neo-noirs.
Male customers at Nick's, the greasy spoon highway diner in Lynbrook, NJ, are more interested in ogling Lana the lunch wagon woman (Ann Marie Marino) than eating the lousy food. Hapless Hugo (Joe Marzano), a grocery store stock clerk, has been particularly fascinated with Lana, and finally gets
the nerve to ask her out. Surprisingly, the buxom, wise-cracking waitress agrees to go on a date with the shy, portly Hugo, but during their night out she tells him that she is in love with The Bear (Dennis Cianni), a local hoodlum. Later, when Bear throws Lana out during an argument, Hugo lets
her move into his small apartment.
Hugo tries to satisfy Lana, telling her that he is the manager of the grocery store where he works, but Lana demands that Hugo support her in a luxurious lifestyle. As a result, Hugo teams up with another gangster, Spider (Nathan Schiff), to try stealing money from Hugo's Uncle Carlo's pizza
place. What Hugo does not know, however, is that Lana has secretly reunited with Bear and plans to leave Hugo after he gets the money for her. Hugo and Spider pull off the heist, but Bear throws Lana out again when he discovers that Hugo only stole some cheese from Uncle Carlo. Hugo finally
realizes how foolish he has been over Lana and tries to go on without her.
Marzano is a director who continues to revamp and revise generic conventions on the slimmest of budgets. Beginning with his seven-minute version of THE DANGEROUS GAME (1953) and right up to his three-minute Busby Berkeley-style music video, ANGEL (1995), Marzano plays wittily but thoughtfully with
old movie conventions. ONE LESS EGG TO FRY, his most ambitious feature to date, reproduces 1940s and '50s noir with the sort of ironic plot twists, despairing characters, shadowy black-and-white photography, bleak settings, overstated dialogue and violent action set pieces that marked so many "B"
classics. Marzano also updates the noir style with an extra dose of kinky sex and a bit of color--Hugo and Lana's first date is turned into a music video set to Johnny Green's classic, "Out of Nowhere." Throughout the movie, Marzano's music choices are excellent--the title of the film, of course,
comes from the Fifth Dimension's classic, "One Less Bell To Answer."
Despite its many riches, Marzano makes some errors. He waits too long before cutting between shots--it's okay for him to be cheap, not sloppy--and the overall film feels too long. More importantly, Marzano invests ONE LESS EGG TO FRY with more feeling than most noir parodies--such as Carl Reiner's
DEAD MEN DON'T WEAR PLAID (1982) and FATAL INSTINCT (1993)--but fails to modernize the femme fatale. Lana looks like a joke next to the more sympathetic Hugo. On the other hand, Marzano may be on to something by being overly faithful to convention--Marino goes over the top tossing off nonsense
'40s-style lines. In any case, ONE LESS EGG TO FRY works much better than many big-budget glosses on noir-movie cliches. (Violence, nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: NR
- Review: Director Joe Marzano pays tribute to the hard-boiled film noirs of yore with ONE LESS EGG TO FRY, a super-low-budget feature that displays more guts than Hollywood's cynical neo-noirs. Male customers at Nick's, the greasy spoon highway diner in Lynbrook,… (more)