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My 5 Wives


My 5 Wives

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In a comeback attempt only slightly more dignified than Bela Lugosi's appearance in Plan 9 From Outer Space, Rodney Dangerfield stars in My 5 Wives, playing yet another character whose life so eerily parallels that of the Caddyshack star that huge chunks of his dialogue seem drawn directly from his stand-up routine. Dangerfield plays a self-made millionaire who learns that he must join a Mormon sect in Utah in order to purchase the land needed to build the ski lodge of his dreams. Like many of the other lovable slobs Dangerfield has played, he has a troubled marital history (on which he's willing to elaborate to anyone who'll listen), which makes him a bit weary when he learns that several wives are included with the property. His reservations melt away, however, after he discovers that his wives are all buxom, nubile sex addicts who can't get enough of the obese real-estate tycoon. Functioning as the snobbish yin to Dangerfield's slobbish yang is uptight Mormon bank president John Byner, a sleazy crook in the employ of ruthless gangster Andrew Dice Clay, who attempts to frame Dangerfield and take over his land. Boasting a premise that makes Dangerfield and director Sidney J. Furie's last pairing, the 1992 teen-soccer cross-dressing comedy Ladybugs, look like the lost work of Molière, My 5 Wives has all the elements necessary for a guilty pleasure of the highest order. But it's all guilt and no pleasure, as Furie largely eschews Dangerfield's snob-versus-slob antics—not a single snob is pushed into a pool—in favor of arbitrary subplots and chases featuring some of the shoddiest use of stunt doubles ever committed to celluloid. Made even more undignified by a horrific shot of Dangerfield wearing a thong bikini, My 5 Wives is at once unfortunate and sadly appropriate for a beloved comic institution who's made a career out of taking the low road.