The Crew

Elder abuse masquerading as light comedy, The Crew opens with an extended GoodFellas homage that introduces its four leads and the defining character trait of each. Burt Reynolds is a violent hothead with a silver toupee, crack arsonist Seymour Cassel is nearly mute, Dan Hedaya is a good-natured halfwit, and narrator Richard Dreyfuss is an ex-con with a daughter he hasn't seen in decades. The four lead working-class lives of desperation, stumbling upon a series of inept scams that get them in trouble with both drug dealers and the police, most notably tough detective Carrie-Anne Moss. As luck would have it, Moss just happens to be Dreyfuss' long-lost daughter, one of many borderline-insulting coincidences that—along with former Oingo Boingo member Steve Bartek's irritatingly peppy score—keep the film limping forward. Clearly designed as a crowd-pleasing cross between Grumpy Old Men and GoodFellas, The Crew instead feels like a male Golden Girls with a mob fixation, and with good reason: Screenwriter Barry Fanaro is a veteran of both that show and the similarly geriatric Archie Bunker's Place. Director Michael Dinner (Hot To Trot) has assembled a good cast, but he gives his leading men so little to work with that all four could have been replaced with animatronic old-man puppets without substantially altering the film's quality. Dinner and Fanaro keep the sitcom-stale gags flying, mixing lame physical comedy with plotting that's arbitrary when it's not downright nonsensical. It's nice to see gifted character actors Cassel (best known for his work with John Cassavetes) and Hedaya in lead roles in a theatrically released film, but it would be even nicer if The Crew weren't such a moronic affront to their dignity.

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