Radioland Murders Reviews
This goofy slapstick comedy on paper had promise and I was quite excited to watch it as the period setting plus the 'who dunnit' murder aspect I like. The whole thing sounded like a kind of 'Clue' or 'Haunted Honeymoon' type venture, that nice dated 30's to 50's setting with smart suits with well spoken chaps n dames all set within a spooky atmosphere.
Unfortunately this film is really quite boring and insanely stupid, there is way too much slapstick in your face screwball comedy...and its not even very good, just forced. Everyone is falling arse over tit every five minutes and the editing is so damn choppy, you zip from one pratfall to the next as if they were individual sketches pasted together.
Awesome cast line up, every well known character actor in Hollywood has been stuck in this but that can't save the film. Brian Benben was for me a bad choice of lead for the story, he's one of those guys that just fits TV roles better and he's also annoyingly unstable here with the most lame physical comedy display.
Good ideas with a great era and concept to homage but this falls flat on its face, it should of been a classic but somehow its been fudged well and truly, damn it Lucas!
ASIDE: We're huge fans of Coen Brothers, Wim Wenders, Charles Laughton & Eddie Izzard, so we understand this is a grain of salt & go figure review.
It's 1939. Radio is peaking; the end is not yet in sight. A bunch of wacky characters are planning to launch a new network. This launch has been designed by someone unfamiliar with how radio works, as all of the acts are done at one time, on one stage, in front of a live studio audience. (Yes, it happened; see the aforementioned Keillor. But it didn't happen [i]much[/i] or to this extent.) We have at least three serials, a comedian, a Spike Jones-y band (that's Spike Jones the musician, not Spike Jonze the video director who stole his name), a couple of real bands, a dance routine or two (on the radio?), and so forth. The scripts are all in rewrite [i]during the show[/i]. Everyone who works for the station, from the station owner to the doorman, is a Wacky Character.
In short, it's too busy. We don't need characters to start dropping like flies; we don't need the backstory. Give us a couple more minutes with George Burns in what would be his last picture. I think this is supposed to be in real time; if it isn't, it isn't much longer. The film is just over an hour and a half long, and I'm pretty sure the show is supposed to be an hour and a half as well. We don't need the frenzied or the madcap or whatever adjective you feel like inserting. (Zany? Screwball? I've got a ton of 'em.) Pick a plot, is I guess what I'm saying.
The cast is great. I have to admit that there's one hell of a cast. It's the final film of two great old performers, George Burns and Rosemary Clooney. (She would do a couple more episodes of TV, including one appearance on [i]ER[/i] with her nephew, George.) It's got a cavalcade of comedians. It's a lovely film, diving headlong into Art Deco. The filming's not bad. Not [i]great[/i], but pretty good. The colours pop in the way that colours actually did in '39. It could be a much better movie than it is.
Also, it's wasting its comedic talent. I'm not going to tell you that I never laughed. I am going to tell you that I didn't laugh as much as I expected to, given who's in it. It's disappointing. I think that makes it worse than it otherwise would be, and I can genuinely wish my hopes weren't so high going in, because I might have enjoyed the movie more. But they were, and I didn't.