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Kiss Toledo Goodbye


Kiss Toledo Goodbye

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Considering the battle for credit and recognition ostensibly at the center of the threatened screenwriters' strike, it's worth noting that Kiss Toledo Goodbye is one of only a handful of films to credit its writer above the title, billing itself as a "Lyndon Chubbuck Film Of A Robert Easter Screenplay." But while Easter's distinguished filmography (The Toolbox Murders, Out For Blood, Sworn To Justice) lends undeniable cachet, it's hard to think of a screenplay less deserving of special mention than this hackneyed compendium of mob-comedy tropes. A ham-fisted comedy that plays like a series of sewn-together outtakes from superior films, Toledo stars Michael Rapaport as a well-meaning doofus who meets his real father (Robert Forster), discovers his career as a crime boss, and witnesses his death all in the same eventful evening. At the behest of one of his father's advisors (Christopher Walken), Rapaport agrees to stand in as the family's new boss, facilitating a culture-clash comedy immersing Rapaport's terminally bland white-bread hero in a gangland world populated by anachronistic hoods straight out of central casting. Miscellaneous characters show up out of nowhere with alarming regularity, especially Christine Taylor as Rapaport's long-suffering girlfriend, who pops in at random intervals to catch her beau in a series of compromising positions and to enact various testicle-related punishments, then disappear until needed again. Chubbuck presides over Kiss Toledo Goodbye with a leaden comic touch appropriate to his experience directing Baywatch, while displaying all the visual style of a first-time director of amateur porn. Even the reliable Walken fails to make an impression, his otherworldly presence and unique delivery neutered by the film's clumsy mixture of stale sitcom gags and indifferently staged shootouts. Maybe Easter's elevated credit is an attempt to diffuse the blame.