Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Money Pit

Ah, an 80s chick flick. My kind of thing.

The Money Pit starts developing its dynamic characters early. Walter is conservative, but high-strung. He is a lawyer in the music industry, representing rock bands but obviously doing poorly at it since he continuously talks about how broke he is. His girlfriend, Anna, who is a violinist in an orchestra and petrified of commitment based on her soured marriage with her conductor, is seemingly carefree with a great deal of tension underneath that occasionally bursts out of her, contrasting Walter’s open passion and vivacity. The realtor that sells them their new house is nothing other than stereotypically crooked. Max, the conductor, is a rich, handsome, lusty jerk. Every character that enters the film is quirky in some way.

The characters pave the way for the story built entirely on Murphy’s Law. It’s almost difficult to keep up with all of the things that go wrong in the couple’s new dream home. The plumbing, the roof, the stairs—everything not only breaks but falls apart in the first day.

This movie is physical comedy as its finest. There’s not much intellect. There’s no moral, other than “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” and “If someone is selling a million dollar house for $200,000, no kidding it’s a con job!” It’s two hours of the characters experiencing various forms of comical pain and excruciating embarrassment. In short: absolutely hilarious.

But it’s a good romantic comedy, as well. The couple faces more hardship in a few months than 50 couples experience in a lifetime. They continuously speak optimistically about the situation, despite the fact that there is clearly no hope for the house because they love each other. They talk about how this will be a wonderful home for the two of them and how they can get through the difficult situation. It is Anna’s continuous relationship with Max that adds strain to this already less than fairly tale scenario. It completes the love story that her relationship with Max leads to her and Walter breaking up and temporarily hating each other. The lover’s quarrels are both funny and heartbreaking, only making it all the more romantic when the couple gets back together.

It is interesting that Walter keeps referring to Anna as his wife throughout the film. It illustrates several elements of the story and of Walter’s character. He makes it very clear in the beginning of the movie that he wants to marry her, but she’s afraid of commitment (isn’t that a switch up from the usual gender roles.) He continuously refers to her as his wife instead of his girlfriend either because he is dying to marry her or he is ashamed of their adulterous relationship, which he also references. Perhaps both are true. Also, maybe, just maybe, Walter’s referral to Anna as his wife is a foreshadowing of their future relationship status…

My favorite scene in the film is the scene with the kitchen fire. It epitomizes the comedic style of the movie. An electrical fire sparks and follows the circuit inside the wall. Walter panics and tries to put it out, only making things worse, of course. In the end, he is engulfed in fire himself, and the turkey in the oven is launched artistically across the property into a bucket in the bathroom where Anna stands filling up the tub with buckets of water from the fountain. When Walter makes his way to the bathroom, covered in ash with his burnt clothes hanging off him, the couple continues filling the tub with water, which causes the tub to fall through the floor. This is the last straw for Walter, and he begins to laugh uncontrollably in a silly, obnoxious, hilarious guffaw that lasts for several minutes, clearly summarizes his mood—he is so desperate that he can’t be angry or discouraged. He can only laugh. I, myself, was cracking up at this scene, though not for the same reasons as Walter.

All in all, this is quite a funny movie. As I said, not the world’s most intelligent or philosophical, but who needs that all the time? It’s a hilarious romantic comedy filled with delightful physical comedy and lovable characters that you can’t help but feel sorry for that they are really this gullible and pathetic.

1 comment:

Vladigogo said...

For those folks who only know Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, of the guy stuck on the island in Castaway, or in Apollo 13, this is a good introduction to the type of film Hanks was doing before he got all Oscar on us.

This movie, Volunteers, Bachelor Party, Dragnet, Turner and Hooch all show a different Hanks than the one we know now.