Movie Review: Quick Change (1990) #atozchallenge

I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge by watching and reviewing some of my favorite movies of all time that I haven’t watched in a long time. This post contains SPOILERS!

TitleQuick Change
Release Date: July 13, 1990
Director: Howard Franklin and Bill Murray
Production Company: Devoted Productions

There are not a lot of Q movies out there, much less ones I want to watch again, but here’s one I enjoyed 30 years ago.

Dressed as a clown, Grimm (Bill Murray) robs a midtown Manhattan bank, holding the staff and customers hostage in the vault.  While negotiating with police Chief Walt Rotzinger (Jason Robards), Grimm makes ludicrous demands in exchange for hostages.  As the demands are fulfilled he releases his lifelong friend Loomis (Randy Quaid) and girlfriend Phyllis (Geena Davis), as well as himself (sans clown costume).  While the police are distracted by the seeming ongoing hostage situation in the bank, the trio slip off with cash taped beneath their clothing.

The heist goes without a hitch, but their efforts to get to the airport to fly out of the country are met with increasingly ludicrous obstacles.  They get lost in Queens, get robbed by a Yuppie conman, lose their car, ride in a cab with a driver who knows no English, accidentally walk in on a Mafia operation, and deal with an anal bus driver who gets them within walking distance of the airport.  They finally make their flight, but Rotzinger boards to make an arrest, only to take away an obnoxious passenger who is a notorious Mafia boss.

When Did I First See This Movie?:

I saw this with my sister when it first came out, probably because we both like Bill Murray.  I remember thing it was outrageously funny and surprised that the movie seemed to vanish from the theaters and no one else I knew saw it.

What Did I Remember?:

I remember the clown bank robbery and Geena Davis wiping off a bit of white makeup that Bill Murray missed, getting lost in Queens, the Latin people jousting on bicycles, and the eerie empty streets they walk through near the airport before boarding the baggage train.

What Did I Forget?:

I forgot about the whole mafia subplot, the visit to Phyllis’ old apartment where they run into Phil Hartman, the cab driver, and the bus ride.

What Makes This Movie Great?:

There are moments of inspired comedy in this film, with Bill Murray robbing the bank and negotiating for hostages being the part that holds up the best.  It’s also very funny when Murray talks himself through the encounter with the mafia, and even makes up with some more money.

What Doesn’t Hold Up?:

This movie is cynical and angry and built around the idea that New York City is an awful place, something I’ve never believed in, so I don’t know why I thought it was so funny 30 years ago.  A lot of what the characters hate about New York seems to involve people with darker skin and different accents, which is more than a little bit racist.  A lot of the gags fall flat.  The relationship between Murray and Davis is not believable and they have no chemistry.  And Quaid’s character, despite his best efforts, is a one-note “dumb guy” that ceases to be funny after too much repetition.

Is It a Classic?:

No, not at all.

Rating: **1/2

One other all-time favorite movie starting with Q:

  1. Quest: A Portrait of an American Family (2017)

What is your favorite movie starting with the letter Q?  What is your guess for my movie starting with R (Hint: The film score is by the same composer as another of my favorite R movies, The Right Stuff)?  Let me know in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Movie Review: Quick Change (1990) #atozchallenge

  1. I love the Quartermass movies made by Hammer. Always captured my attention. Haven’t seen any in a long time. Now I’m going to see what Amazon/Youtube has.

    Have you ever seen them, Liam?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t seen this movie. I like both Geena Davis and Bill Murray, so I’ll check it out — remembering as I watch it not to take it too seriously.

    An A-Z of Faerie: Banshee


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