Taking Care Of Business

  • 1990
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy

Right from the start, it's easy to tell that TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS is pure fantasy. Its premise includes a World Series pitting the perennially frustrated California Angels and Chicago Cubs against each other. Like its baseball matchup, the main plot of TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS also involves underdogs having their day in the sun. James Belushi plays Jimmy...read more

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Right from the start, it's easy to tell that TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS is pure fantasy. Its premise includes a World Series pitting the perennially frustrated California Angels and Chicago Cubs against each other. Like its baseball matchup, the main plot of TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS also

involves underdogs having their day in the sun. James Belushi plays Jimmy Dworski, a likable convict and diehard Cubs fan who's about to be released from prison, though not soon enough to collect the tickets to the deciding Series game he has won in a radio contest. When the warden (Hector

Elizondo) rejects Jimmy's pleas for an early release, Jimmy's fellow convicts, who universally adore him, stage a riot, taking Jimmy "hostage" and allowing him to slip away undetected to the airport, where he is to rendezvous with his radio hosts. Flying in at the same time is advertising whiz

Spencer Barnes (Charles Grodin). Risking his marriage by postponing a weekend getaway with his wife (Veronica Hamel), he's in Los Angeles to pitch a potential new client, Japanese food mogul Sakamoto (Mako). Spencer leaves his filofax (the wallet-datebook that provides the film with its alternate

title) at a phone booth, where it is picked up by Jimmy, who intends to track down its owner and collect a promised $1,000 reward for its return. The hunt takes Jimmy to a high-tech, high-security Malibu mansion belonging to Spencer's boss, Walter (Stephen Elliott). It also puts Jimmy on Spencer's

fast-track itinerary, setting in motion the predictable mistaken-identity plot. Unwisely, Jimmy beats Sakamoto at tennis in straight sets; then he outrages the CEO of Sakamoto's American operations by shooting from the hip in the crucial pitch-meeting over dinner that evening. Jimmy also ends up

in a hot tub, and later in bed, with the boss's sleek, sexy, blonde daughter (Loryn Locklin). Meanwhile, the real Spencer drives a beat-up clunker rental car and gets stuffed into a garbage dumpster by a standard movie multi-ethnic gang of muggers. He has to con the accountant at the tennis club

because he doesn't know his own boss's address. He then has to wheedle a lovelorn high-school acquaintance (Anne DeSalvo) into chauffeuring him all over town and takes a side trip to jail after getting arrested for breaking into the mansion. Finally cornering Jimmy, Spencer drags him to Sakamoto's

office to explain the mix-up. There Spencer watches his firm lose the account and is fired when he rebels against Walter. After Jimmy and Spencer stomp out of the office, Sakamoto fires his American CEO for being too rude and obnoxious. In the meantime, Jimmy and Spencer make it to the big game

and sort things out at the prison, while the boss's daughter and Spencer's wife sort things out at the mansion. And, of course, in no time Sakamoto offers jobs to Jimmy and Spencer.

The average viewer will be able to grasp the entire plot of this movie no more than 10 minutes after it begins. Aside from its if-you-can't-beat-'em, work-for-'em attitude, there's precious little here that hasn't already been done in a multitude of other films, and usually done better. The real

problem with TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS is that it doesn't even get much mileage out of what it does have going for it. Grodin and Belushi have both done their best work in buddy-buddy pairings (MIDNIGHT RUN and RED HEAT, respectively), but while the two demonstrate some comedy chemistry here, they

aren't brought together onscreen until the film is virtually over. Until that point, both actors amble from one uninspired situation to another without being given much to sink their teeth into under Arthur Hiller's lackadaisical direction.

Something of a family affair, TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS was executive produced by veteran filmmaker Paul Mazursky (HARRY AND TONTO; DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS) and cowritten by his daughter, Jill. It's not quite a home movie. But it's not quite a movie, either. (Profanity, adult situations.)

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  • Released: 1990
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Right from the start, it's easy to tell that TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS is pure fantasy. Its premise includes a World Series pitting the perennially frustrated California Angels and Chicago Cubs against each other. Like its baseball matchup, the main plot of… (more)

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