Monday, June 26, 2006

All in the Family

Charley Partanna (Jack Nicholson) has a little problem--he's in love with a hit woman (Kathleen Turner) who has gone against his employers, the Prizzi family. Charley's not what you would call one of those "wiseguy" mobsters. In fact, all of the "goodfellas" in this movie are none too wise.

It's all about the honor of the family, Prizzi's Honor. In this almost farcical look at organized crime, cops are paid, hits are arranged, even daughters are disowned to protect the family. The fact that Don Corrado Prizzi (William Hickey) can barely draw a breath on his own doesn't seem to matter.

Maerose Prizzi's (Anjelica Huston in a role that won her a Best Supporting Actress
Oscar) honor is also in question. Shunned by her father for disgracing him after being thrown over by Charley, she sets out after him with a vengeance.

The fun is in the little details. Whether it be planning a hit during dinner like it was a family vacation or rewarding service to the family with a spanky set of golf clubs, keep your eyes open for the subtle humor.

It is also nice to see a film portray the women as being more intelligent than the men. Believe me, these aren't just broads or bimbos. They more than hold their own against the men. They are the driving force behind much of the film's action.

Everyone shines in the roles they have been given. Even Nicholson, who I usually don't much care for, is endearing here. But Huston almost single-handedly walks away with the picture. Her seduction of Charley is not to be missed. (So let's do it. Right here. On the Oriental. With all the lights on.) Genius!

The plot gets more and more complicated as the film goes along, so make sure to pay attention. You'll be glad you did.

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