Cadillac Man Reviews
The story has Joey O'Brien (Williams) trying to sell some cars while also looking good while doing it. Unfortunately, his personal life is not that good. Mostly dealing with people of the opposite sex. And this holds especially true when a crazed man named Larry (Robbins) comes into the car lot wielding a gun, demanding who has been having an affair with his wife. And it looks like Joey is the main suspect. Now, Joey is in the hot seat for his life.
"Cadillac Man" is a mixed bag of a film. For starters, the film promotes itself as a comedy. In reality, there are only a few laughs that consist the whole 97 minute run time. Sure, there are some clever jokes scattered throughout, mostly from Williams, but for the most part, the film stays heavily focused on the dramatic side of things. This could also be tied in with the music; there's barely an orchestrated score, and the film could have worked in some more songs along the way. Also, the script by Ken Friedman seems a little weak, as there is a lot going on, and the action is very fast. If the film had slowed down for just a little bit, then there would have been enough time to understand just what is happening.
On the opposite end of things, the movie does have a few redeeming factors. For instance, the direction by Roger Donaldson is good as it focuses on the action unfolding, making the movie quite interesting, as well as entertaining to say the least. The performances here are good as well. The characters from our two main leads, especially Williams, are really enjoyable, and fun to watch. Finally, the setting of a car dealership being under attack is a pretty funny scenario for the purpose of the film.
Overall, while "Cadillac Man" does present itself nicely, it feels disjointed by turning a busy work day into a surprising mess.
Prior to directing Cadillac Man, Roger Donaldson gave the world the Golden Raspberry Award winning box office smash Cocktail (1988). This offers a clear sign that he has taken a more deluded path after his strong work on No Way Out (1987), and I guess Cadillac Man is the film to certify it. The story in Cadillac Man takes itself way too seriously for its own good. Robin Williams is an accomplished actor in both comedy and drama, but Cadillac Man obsessively frets over attempting to wring drama out of what should a comedic situation. The premise of a hostage crisis is reserved mostly for thrillers and occasionally for some kind of ridiculous comedy. In the case of Cadillac Man, the film ends up being the former with a pretentious facade of the latter to mask it. The film is closer to being a drama about an articulate an articulate car salesman who uses his skills in negotiate his way out of a hostage situation. In actual fact, this could have been a very intelligent dramatic film if it had the right context. Unfortunately, the script in Cadillac Man is hardly deep enough to tackle the nature of it subject matter. Settling instead for apparently being a comedy, Cadillac Man fails to capitalize on its high concept plot and instead ends up as a slow and lifeless film. Ultimately, the plot ends as conventionally as it starts with Joey O'Brien having all his problems solved after being taken hostage in a scenario where no hostages get hurt and no jokes get made.
What's weird is that there are almost no actual jokes written into the script for Cadillac Man. I'm not saying that to signify that the film isn't funny, there is simply minimum jokes put into the script. Attempting to seek out a moment in Cadillac Man where there is a genuine joke is like a search for the Loch Ness Monster. I spent too much of Cadillac Man trying to establish what point I was supposed to be laughing at, as if I had to analyse the film to isolate its humourous elements. Evidently, I came up short which makes me certain that Cadillac Man cannot be considered a comedy of any sort since the only joke is the wasted plot.
The film rests on the shoulders of an unlikable protagonist. Joey O'Brien is a manipulative car salesman having an affair with multiple married women, and the film tries to get viewers sympathising for him through the fact that he genuinely struggles with all that life throws at him. Despite having so many different characters who contribute subplots to the man's life, none of it is actually interesting or all that effective in developing the character. Of course, there is no priority for characters in Cadillac Man because the entire film frets about focusing on its story despite the fact that it doesn't have one. There so many different subplots crammed into the premise yet not one of them is actually given any exploration, and even if they were the cliche nature of them is too dull to offer anything. The only slight bit of flair in Cadillac Man comes from what little the lead actors can do to salvage such a pathetic script.
For the majority of the time, Robin Williams is forced through a generic repetition of endless drama with no sweet relief of comedy at any point even though there are clear moments where a small spark of his natural comic persona manages to find its way into the scene. It is never harnessed though because the screenplay is very blunt. However, during some of the most intense moments in the film, Robin Williams proves capable of maximising the drama in the situation. The film progressively thinks it grows more intense while pretending to develop its relationship between Joey O'Brien and Larry, but the only development actually comes from Robin Williams who manages to break down his character and progressively get more intense with his line delivery. His chemistry with Tim Robbins shows him really conveying a stressful situation to audiences, and though there is no real character development happening during these scenes their is a progressive intensity in Robin Willliams' physical state which gives some feeling to the film amid its inept tone. Robin Williams' performance in Cadillac Man isn't necessarily touching or all that funny, but the physical intensity of the part gives him the credibility of being the best thing about Cadillac Man.
Also, it's somewhat entertaining to see Tim Robbins in an against-type role. Playing a thinly scripted antagonist for the film, Tim Robbins' takes on the part of the senseless and gun-toting madman Larry. All he has to do for the part is point the gun at Robin Williams and deliver his lines as senselessly as they are written, and though it is far from a challenge for the actor it is at least mildly entertaining to see him take on a different role. Tim Robbins doesn't have the support to amaze viewers with Cadillac Man, but there is a modicum of joy that comes from seeing him in such a ridiculous part.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the rest of the cast. Though Cadillc Man features the presence of talented actress Annabella Sciorra and soon-to-be sitcom star Fran Drescher, they are all reduced to mindless stock characters without maintaining the against-type gimmick of Tim Robbins. By the end of it, there is nothing memorable about their efforts since the blank repetition in them is more annoying than anything.
Cadillac Man offers a sporadic display of Robin Williams' abilities to project physical intensity, but with a screenplay that doesn't have any jokes, a story which is lifelessly predictable and a tone which cannot decipher whether to be a drama or a comedy, the entire experience is bereft of any entertainment value.
a lot of Hilarity about half way through? Heck yes!
VERDICT: "In The Zone" - [Mixed Reaction] These kinds of movies are usually movies that had some good things, but some bad things kept it from being amazing. This rating says buy an ex-rental or a cheap price of the DVD to own. If you consider cinema, ask for people's opinion on the film. (Films that are rated 2.5 or 3 stars)
Williams is good as the car but the story never really goes anywhere, and the direction prolongs it even further.
Avoid this one, there are plenty of better Robin Williams' films around.