A congenial, slice-of-pizza comedy, WE'RE TALKING SERIOUS MONEY features two small-time crooks who can barely keep afloat in a sea of crime populated by bigger, nastier fish.
Forever dreaming of the get-rich-quick path to early retirement, Sal (Dennis Farina) resists the sensible career guidance of his girlfriend Valerie (Fran Drescher). Although such can't-miss schemes as St. Christopher medals with talking mouths did miss, enterprising Sal nonetheless talks buddy
Charlie (Leo Rossi) into a bearer-bond theft for which they have to ante up ten thousand bucks for Sal's cousin, the inside man. When the snake of a relative skips town, the unwise guys are liable for this loan from Mafioso Gino the Grocer (John LaMotta). While Gino considers a bone-breaking
repayment plan, Sal and Charlie take it on the lam to LA, where they crash with Sal's sister and hook up with Marty the Greek (John Kapelos). He inveigles the small-timers into an envelope theft from Marty's office where Sal and Charlie discover the dead body of Marty's partner.
After greedy Marty joins his associate in the hereafter, the bungling crooks adopt his shakedown scheme involving videos of grafting politicians accepting bribes from businesmen. During a dangerous extortion exchange with the suited sharks headed by Jacubick (Dennis Arndt), the white-collar rats
take Sal hostage but Charlie manages to hang onto some of the incriminating tapes for insurance. Although Gino and a bodyguard arrive with palms outstretched, Charlie shakes them off long enough to rendezvous with the corporate criminals, free Sal and help capture the ring of corrupt businessmen
with the aid of the FBI, who've been summoned by Valerie. Proving ingenious enough to play in the big crime leagues, Sal pays off Gino many times over, returns a substantial portion of the blackmail money to the FBI but splits the remaining $500,000 with Sal, who winds up hitched to Valerie over
the closing credits.
Question for a proposed sequel: how long will it take Sal and Charlie to squander their newly acquired nest eggs--or have they learned their lessons? Although WE'RE TALKING SERIOUS MONEY puts viewers in the uncomfortable position of rooting for low-rung blackmailers over high-level CEO murderers,
this caper comedy is best approached without too much scrutiny. The film does succeed in making us want Sal and Charlie to outwit the badder guys. Appealingly played by a veteran cast who can limn Italian-American traits without stereotyping them, this farce is so engagingly performed that the
characters redeem predictable material. Although this type of hapless hood comedy has been done to death, this variant is vastly superior to fare like WISE GUYS and THE GANG THAT COULDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT.
Displaying an abundance of heart, the filmmakers enhance even the minor characters (save for the villains) with warmth and loving detail. Deftly, the screenplay milks laughs from the characters rather than outlandish situations in themselves, and the direction never falls into the trap of frenetic
pacing or overemphasis. Pleasantly surprising, WE'RE TALKIN' SERIOUS MONEY involves viewers in the friendship of two losers who finally make their big score. To the film's credit, Sal and Charlie are so beautifully etched and freshly played that audiences would likely have been just as interested
in them if this comedy had been about their comical misadventures in failure rather than this one pipe dream that came true. (Violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: A congenial, slice-of-pizza comedy, WE'RE TALKING SERIOUS MONEY features two small-time crooks who can barely keep afloat in a sea of crime populated by bigger, nastier fish. Forever dreaming of the get-rich-quick path to early retirement, Sal (Dennis Far… (more)