Griffin Dunne (An American Werewolf in London) is a hopeless single dude working a boring job with Bronson Pinchot. After work he meets diner patron Marcy (Rosanna Arquette of Desperately Seeking Susan the same year), bonding over their shared love for Henry Miller, and she refers him to her artist roommate Kiki (Linda Fiorentino of Jade). After an undercranked cab ride to their loft, his night spins out of control in tragicomic fashion. Not to get all auteurist on a 1980’s wild-crazy-night picture, but it’s better-looking and more intricately designed than this genre generally gets.

O’Hara and Bloom:

Buncha people with tendencies to panic and lose their cool about small things, not excepting our main man – in Marcy’s bed smoking a bad joint he suddenly sneaks out ranting about needing paperweights. He gets into a barter situation with bartender Tom (the late John Heard), gets shamed by Kiki’s dom boyfriend, wanders over to waitress Teri Garr’s place, then to Catherine O’Hara’s place, then a beardy guy’s place, then Verna Bloom’s place – what is it about Griffin Dunne that makes everyone want to take him home? Verna paper-maches Griffin to hide him from an angry mob who believe he’s responsible for a string of break-ins, then the actual thieves Cheech & Chong steal him, believing he’s art. It’s a very good ending, pulling Griffin abruptly out of the situation and back to his office, which could make the whole thing seem like a harmless dream if not for Marcy’s suicide.

Teri Garr is skeptical:

John Heard is skeptical:

Made by Scorsese between King of Comedy and The Color of Money, after a first attempt to make The Last Temptation of Christ fell apart. Reportedly the flashy camera moves were designed as a Hitchcock parody. Joseph Minion wrote (with some help from Kafka), also wrote Vampire’s Kiss and Scorsese’s episode of Amazing Stories. Tied with Blood Simple at the first Independent Spirit Awards, but it was better-loved in France, where it got a C├ęsar nomination and won best director at Cannes.

Mouseover to make Dick Miller wink at you:
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Kind of a bad comedy, but it had its good points: Ava Gardner seemed awfully sexy for a late-40’s movie, and she and Olga San Juan had distractingly prominent breasts. Mostly though, we’ve got Robert Walker (a regular joe with brief attacks of Jerry Lewis Eyes) and crew unable to sell the zaniness of the script.

Walker (The Clock, Strangers on a Train) is a department-store drone with flat-faced friend Joe (singer Dick Haymes) and jealous girlfriend Olga, who awakens the Venus statue (Ava, Pandora and the Flying Dutchman) beloved of Walker’s boss Tom Conway (psychologist of The Seventh Victim). Ava’s fine as Venus, and the other bright spot in the cast is sarcastic Eve Arden (Mildred Pierce, Anatomy of a Murder and Grease), who seems too smart for this movie. Features three or four of the kind of instantly-forgettable slow, dreamy songs that threatened to put me to sleep – or maybe they did, since I had to ask Katy after the romantic ending if Eve ended up with anybody (the boss, of course).

Written by Frank Tashlin (in the few years between his cartoon-directing career and his live-action-directing careers) and Harry Kurnitz (I Love You Again, Witness for the Prosecution). Seiter is a TCM regular (Roberta, You Were Never Lovelier, A Lady Takes a Chance) even though we can’t recall his name. Remade a couple times, most memorably as Mannequin with Kim Cattrall.