Greed, unadulterated and unscrupulous, is the modus vivendi of the aptly nicknamed Lawrence "Larry the Liquidator" Garfield in OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, Norman Jewison's film version of the hit off-Broadway play.
Larry the Liquidator (Danny DeVito) is a Wall Street shark who feeds voraciously on doughnuts and takeovers. He has determined, abetted by his trusty computer, to "swallow," i.e. buy out and shut down, the small but stable and heretofore profitable New England Wire and Cable Company which is
owned and run by the benign Andrew Jorgenson (Gregory Peck), affectionately called "Jorgy" by his cronies and employees. Always clad in a cardigan, a symbol of stability and old-fashioned values, Jorgy's paternalism and laid-back approach to his business and especially to his workers add up to
good old-fashioned American values.
When he becomes aware of Larry's manipulations, Jorgenson reluctantly calls on talented Manhattan attorney Kate Sullivan (Penelope Ann Miller), who exercises her feminine wiles to considerable advantage in her negotiations with Larry; both Kate and her smitten adversary are manipulators par excellence. Will the good guys win out in the end? In real life of course, they won't--witness the takeover craze rampant during the Reagan reign. But in reel life, good--however tenuously--will out.
Upon OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY's release in the fall of 1991, many film critics harped on the fact that Alvin Sargent's screenplay softened the original's realistically cynical ending. The hit Jerry Sterner play was noteworthy as an acidly comic illustration of the Reagan era's greed-is-good mandate.
Perhaps the film version would have made greater waves had it been focused more on the manic and gross persona that DeVito excels in portraying. Those scenes in which he takes center stage are the film's most entertaining. He's wild and weird and quite wonderful as Larry the Liquidator. DeVito
even manages to elicit audience sympathy when Penelope Ann Miller tightens the sexual reins.
In a similarly flawless casting choice, Gregory Peck invests the role of Andrew Jorgenson with the dignity and quiet authority that have been his trademarks since THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM propelled him to stardom in 1945. Peck's reserve has always been his charm. So what, that Jorgenson's methods
in running his company are stodgy and conservative? It's his bailiwick and no sticky wicket will undermine it or him. Unfortunately, the minor roles assigned to former Disney stalwart Dean Jones (THE LOVE BUG, $1,000,000 DUCK), as an opportunistic associate of Jorgenson's, and the resurgent Piper
Laurie (CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD, TV's "Twin Peaks"), as Jorgenson's longtime assistant and mistress, are unrewarding.
Director Norman Jewison has an unerring baton and surrounds himself with pros who respond to his vision and artistry. Haskell Wexler, as director of photography, captures not just the small New England town and the dated wire and cable machinations but its climate and pace and rut. David Newman's
musical score is also noteworthy, as is the art direction by Nathan Haas and Robert Guerra.
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: Greed, unadulterated and unscrupulous, is the modus vivendi of the aptly nicknamed Lawrence "Larry the Liquidator" Garfield in OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, Norman Jewison's film version of the hit off-Broadway play. Larry the Liquidator (Danny DeVito) is a Wall… (more)