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Throw Momma from the Train Reviews

Making a surprisingly assured directorial debut that is hampered only by a weak script, Danny DeVito stars as Owen Lift, a childlike 40-year-old bachelor whose life is totally dominated by his mean-spirited mother (Anne Ramsey). Owen meets Larry Donner (Billy Crystal), a hapless would-be writer whose ex-wife (Kate Mulgrew) ran off with his only completed manuscript, sold it as her own, and is now a millionaire. Owen gets it into his head that Larry wants to "swap" murders with him, with each committing an unmotivated crime that cannot be traced--Owen's momma for Larry's ex-wife. After beginning as a promising black comedy, THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN deteriorates into a repetitive affair that betrays the brazen nastiness with which it began. DeVito does a nice job modulating his own performance, managing to evoke sympathy for his loony character. Crystal, sadly, is hampered by a script that limits him to spells of griping, whining, and full-blown hysteria.