“The son is the acorn — you gotta look at the tree.”
An unassuming New York dentist (Alan Arkin) finds his life uprooted when the father (Peter Falk) of the boy (Michael Lembeck) his daughter (Penny Peyser) is about to marry enlists his help in an undercover operation.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Alan Arkin Films
- Living Nightmare
- Peter Falk Films
This hilariously gonzo comedy-adventure — directed by Arthur Hiller and based on a screenplay by Andrew Bergman (best known for scripting Blazing Saddles) — features Peter Falk and Alan Arkin as an unlikely, hysterically mismatched yet ultimately synergistic undercover duo. Both Falk and Arkin play on their strengths as (respectively) a suave operator and an indignantly befuddled everyman, brought together through their children’s upcoming nuptials, then taken on the wildest of adventures, eventually ending up on nebulously intimate terms with a crazed South American dictator (Richard Libertini). In some ways, the less said about this wildly serpentine cult favorite, the better — watch and enjoy!
Note: This film was remade in 2003 by Albert Brooks, though it’s widely acknowledged as the lesser of the two versions.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Peter Falk as Vince Ricardo
- Alan Arkin as Sheldon Kornpett
- Richard Libertini as General Garcia
- A frequently hilarious screenplay: “I’ll tell you, the benefits are fantastic. The trick is not to get killed; that’s really the key to the benefits program.”
Yes, as a cult comedy favorite.