Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Greedy Reviews

In GREEDY, prolific screenwriting partners Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel tell the old story of a conniving family's attempt to wheedle an inheritance out of a rich, aging, and unlovable relative. Even with such popular actors as Michael J. Fox, Phil Hartman, and Kirk Douglas in its cast, the farce feels labored and the absence of any truly sympathetic character undercuts the film's appeal. The McTeague family converges on the palatial mansion of Uncle Joe (Douglas), a crotchety old man whose construction company has made him a millionaire. We meet the McTeague cousins--Carl (Ed Begley Jr.) and his fecund wife Nora (Mary Ellen Trainor); psychotic Frank (Hartman) and Tina (Siobhan Fallon), his alcoholic spouse; Patti (Colleen Camp), who works for Uncle Joe, and her milquetoast hubby Ed (Bob Balaban); philandering Glenn (Jere Burns) and frustrated Muriel (Joyce Hyser). The clan spend dinner alternately sucking up to their uncle, stabbing each other in the back, and disciplining their horrible offspring. The cousins' apprehension that none of them is likable enough to receive an inheritance is compounded when they meet Molly Richardson (Olivia d'Abo), a blonde sexpot whom Uncle Joe has hired as his nurse ("She helps out in various ways," Joe cryptically informs his family). During an emergency brainstorming session, the McTeagues remember their estranged cousin Daniel, an idealistic liberal who was the only family member that Uncle Joe ever truly respected, and whose son, Danny, was the only one Joe really loved. Though Daniel is off crusading in South America, young Danny (Fox) has become a professional bowler. His older cousins track him down and ask him to help restore them to Joe's good graces. Though Danny balks at first, the lure of money soon changes his mind and he joins the family in their greedy quest. When Uncle Joe admits that he's actually bankrupt and nearly $100,000 in debt to the IRS, most of the cousins wash their hands of him. Tempted to do the same, Danny soon realizes that family ties are more valuable than money. Joe reveals that he's not penniless after all and invites Danny and his fiancee, Robin (Nancy Travis), to live with him in his mansion. Previous Ganz-Mandel efforts (including NIGHT SHIFT, SPLASH, PARENTHOOD, and CITY SLICKERS) have succeeded largely on the strength of quirky, appealing characters. The McTeague clan, however, is a uniformly unappetizing bunch. The four elder cousins, broad caricatures of familiar types, are unsympathetic at best (although Phil Hartman is entertainingly venal); putative hero Danny puts up only token resistance before succumbing to avarice; even Molly, a sweet girl who initially admits that she's just in it for the creature comforts, ends up lusting for Joe's money along with the rest of them. Uncle Joe, in particular, is a difficult character to embrace: he consistently lies to his family--even those he once respected and cared for--in order to determine who "really loves him." None of this would matter much if GREEDY were a gleefully mean-spirited romp on the order of, say, THE RULING CLASS. But the satire here is compromised by a load of Hollywood moralizing, especially toward the film's end. Indeed, much of Ganz and Mandel's prior success may be attributable to director Ron Howard, who has filmed four of their scripts. In GREEDY, the man behind the camera is uninspired Jonathan Lynn, who wrote and directed the disappointing CLUE, the embarrassing NUNS ON THE RUN, and the fluke hit MY COUSIN VINNY. (Violence, nudity, profanity.)