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Radioland Murders Reviews

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Phil H

Super Reviewer

May 12, 2012
It does come across that everything Mr Lucas has put his chubby finger to since Star Wars doesn't quite turn out so well (apart from 'Indy'), the recent 'Red Tails' for example.

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!
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

August 17, 2007
Gosh, almost as pedantic as a Woody Allen movie. The characters are cardboard cutouts against the CGI backgrounds, which were a test-phase for Star Wars prequels. It's claustrophobic and annoying. I didn't want to be there.
January 13, 2013
An attempt to capture nostalgia of the 1930's radio dramas that doesn't really work. Somewhat interesting but the lead actors are pretty weak compared to the supporting cast. Maybe it was the last time that we would ever see George Burns or Christopher Lloyd as a zany sound effects guy but aside from a few minor perks Radioland Murders almost sucks.
January 5, 2012
This quirky murder mystery is far from Oscar worthy but it does provide entertainment for fans of the genre and those looking for typical 90s humor. The acting in the movie is often tastefully over the top, though the film's main protagonist becomes marginally less endearing as his time on screen increases. Both the the film's plot and writing doesn't stray far beyond what is expected. The suspense is impressive for the movie's focus on comedy and the wit, along with the movie's clever use of its setting, spawns more laughs than its one-liners and attempts at slapstick. The film is worth a watch but is far from being a necessity for anyone's film collection
October 24, 2007
After overcoming an initially awkward 20 minutes, this farcical period piece finds its groove and generates a sense of madcap mayhem it manages to sustain until the end credits. Once again, Brian Benben shows what a severely underrated comedic presence he is.
July 31, 2007
What a harsh plot description! This is a film I grew up watching and always enjoyed, even though it is an incredibly close remake of the Abbott and Costello film 'Who Done It?' The film does an amazing job capturing the actmosphere of 1930's radio with the integration of spot on music numbers and comercials. I also thought the perfomances were very strong, making a great use of the amazingly stellar and versatile cast.
May 31, 2012
I don't know what everyone is complaining about, I absolutely love the movie!
December 23, 2013
My Favorite Comedy Film Is 1933's Duck Soup.
October 30, 2013
Though some think this film "sucks" I could not disagree more. I find it beautifully in tune with many previous "screwball" comedies of of the '30's & '40's moving along at a brisk pace with laughs as you may find them, frequent or rare yet always with a smile on one's face while viewing. Great film? film, YES!
June 6, 2007
My favorite movie of all time-I watch it over and over again- random,funny, and crazy characters-all in all-Fun for the whole family!
April 21, 2013
Despite some amusing satire of Golden Age radio, little references to said medium and a jazzy, lively score by Joel McNeely, this Mel Smith & George Lucas' 30s comedy lacks all that many laughs, with sometimes slow pacing and overly archetypical characters that feel more obnoxious than charmingly old-fashioned.
January 13, 2013
A movie about those old time radio shows is a great idea. but this movie really sucks.
August 14, 2010
Great idea, but ultimately falls flat.
September 13, 2012
I appreciate what they were going for. In my opinion, vaudevillian slap-stick will never be dead. But like I said, they didn't quite pull it off. An impressive cast was assembled, as well as a fun starting story by George Lucas (yep, that George Lucas).
June 22, 2012
Generous blue ribbon slapstick w/ a healthy "time I lightened up" corn dog, you gotta be kidding, nonsense plot. Thank God schtick happens like 'Radioland Murders' & 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'-the movie. Paul Reubens is the best vampire ever!
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.
August 30, 2010
This is the Pop Art Of Film .... The Classic Overtones Are Intoxicating... Its A Fast Paced Version Of CLUE.... Who Dunnit On Speed...
February 11, 2008
There are several movies about the end of an era--one of the best, for example, is [i]Singin' in the Rain[/i], which is about both the end of one era and the beginning of another. This movie, too, tries to show us the beginning of the era of the thing that supplants it, but in a joky, self-referential kind of way. Further, those days in Peoria, inventing the television, must have been an [i]awful[/i] long time ago, given how long the history of television is. (Actually, it was commerically available, albeit not common, in 1939, when this film is set.) The bigger problem is how confused this movie is. I'm listing it as a mystery, but it's also a romance, a slice of life piece, and the aforementioned "end of an era" piece. [i]Prairie Home Companion[/i] manages such a burdensome, complex idea; [i]Prairie Home Companion[/i] is a better film. Garrison Keillor is also, Gods love him, a better writer than George Lucas.

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.
August 24, 2006
[font=Courier New]George Lucas has had an interested career between the original[i] Star Wars Trilogy[/i] and the Prequel Trilogy. Some of the stories he has come up with went on to becoming great films ([i]Indiana Jones[/i] series), while others went on to becoming embarrassing moments in his career ([i]Howard the Duck[/i]). [i]Radioland Murders[/i] is a terrible movie. None of it feels fresh, and none of the comedy is really that hilarious. But for some odd reason I enjoy this movie every time I watch it.

It is premiere night for WBN, the 4th radio network to hit the airwaves in 1939. Penny Henderson (Mary Stuart Masterson) is the assistant to the station?s owner, Walt Whalen (Ned Beatty). She has to deal with an array of complications during the first night; overbearing sponsor Dexter Morris (Corbin Bernsen), underpaid writers and her soon to be ex-husband Roger (Brian Benben, a favorite actor of mine). Things only get worst when a series of accidents start to happen, and employees turn up dead.

The biggest setback for [i]Radioland Murders[/i] is its over usage of slapstick comedy. I know the film is trying to pay tribute to the films of this time era, but none of it seems to belong in the movie. It is such a waste that the movie has so many talented people in it, but it doesn?t want to use them to their potential.

And speaking of underused talent, why are there so many wonderful characters in the film who don?t seem to get any screen time or development. One of my favorite characters in the film Morgana (Leighann Lord), who is a janitor who knows a thing or two about show business, is such a cool character who seems to disappear at the end of the film. The film does have a lot of Brian Benben, who I?m not really sure why I like so much. But he and Masterson work nicely along side each other.

[i]Radioland Murders[/i] is a stupid movie, but a rather enjoyable one. I?m guessing that most people who see this movie won?t like it, and that is understandable. But for me, [i]Radioland Murders[/i] has grown to become a guilty pleasure of mine. One that I will continue to watch through the years![/font]
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