Movie Review: 'The Crew'
”I gotta pee.”
”Just hold it” (beat). ”Not with yer hands, you mook!”
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: all the ribaldry, all the camaraderie, all the saggy, baggy bada-bing there is to be had from The Crew, a comedy about geriatric mobsters in Miami with nothing new to say about geriatrics, mobsters, or Miami. Nothing funny, either — which, considering our national goodwill these days toward all characters Sopranos-inspired, and all trends emanating from Madonna’s South Beach, is quite a feat of tunelessness.
Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Reynolds, Dan Hedaya, and Seymour Cassel play four New Jersey wiseguys, now retired down south, who hatch a scheme to save their ocean-view retirement home from developers courting a more affluent model-and-yuppie clientele, in the course of which they arouse the ire of a real local crime boss (Miguel Sandoval). Dressed in clichéd Florida geezer wear, the men squabble. They shuffle. They count their pills. (Dreyfuss outhams his colleagues — he’s also got the one emotional subplot, about a search for his long-lost daughter — but Hedaya runs a close second with his dim patter.) A thin joke during which TV director Michael Dinner (The Wonder Years) parodies the famous nightclub tracking shot in GoodFellas shrivels from too much emphasis on the early-bird special for which the quartet jostle other diners. Each man’s shtick swells into a frenzy of overacting in the name of aging that should have died with The Golden Girls.
That it didn’t — that these dumb guys who appear to be in their 60s have the mind-sets of Grandpa Simpson — may be because Barry Fanaro, who wrote The Crew, also wrote 104 Golden Girls scripts. But familiarity with sitcoms doesn’t account for such stereotyping. And senior citizens aren’t the only special-interest group that suffers; all nuance is also erased from the drug lord (Sandoval), a stripper (Jennifer Tilly, with cleavage à la Elvira), and the stripper’s Jewish stepmother (Lainie Kazan), who, kidnapped, yawps, ”Careful with the goddamn tape, I just had my nose done! My kingdom for half of a Valium!”
Who says this stuff these days? Who gets old like this? Morty and Helen Seinfeld, en route to Del Boca Vista West, wouldn’t watch this as an in-flight movie for more than 10 minutes; Tony Soprano would simply have the crew who made The Crew whacked. D