The Money Pit - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Money Pit Reviews

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½ November 19, 2016
There are certain films that your account your life that acquires a certain halo effect as a result of the circumstances in which first watched the movie. For me an example of this would be 1986 romantic comedy, 'The Money Pit'. It was a favorite pleasure that I enjoyed with my late wife and I noticed it in my latest batch of previews I have to admit that a smile came upon my face. What has to be kept in mind while reviewing such a movie is to remain as objective as possible and attempt by the consideration of the film based on its merits and not your emotional history with it. This movie such an obligation is not difficult to fulfil. Despite some technical missteps and a number of highly predictable plot points the movie is fun to watch. The main reason for this is its stars; Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Ms. Long had gained popularity by starring in one of the most popular sitcoms of the time, 'Cheers'. At this point in her career she was moving into movies predominantly concentrating on comedies. For Mr. Hanks this is towards the beginning of his film career after his own gender bending sitcom, 'Bosom Buddies'. At this point he was considered comedic actor after successes films including 'Splash', 'Volunteers' and 'Bachelor Party'. Even back then he possessed a natural quality in is humor that made connecting his audience appear effortless. Little did stand at that time realize that he would take that every man quality turning inward to become one of the best dramatic actors of his generation earning two Academy Awards for 'Best actor in a leading role'. This bill would also help ignite friendship and collaboration that would persist for the rest of their careers. The executive producer for this movie Steven Spielberg would go on not only to his own extraordinary career frequently create and work on projects with Mr. Hanks. For a silly little film legacy is exceptionally profound.

Many of the attributes instruction of this movie are along the lines of a classic farce; the confluence of absurd plot points and outlandish coincidences. Walter Fielding (Tom Hanks) is an attorney whose girlfriend, Anna Crowley (Shelley Long), a classical musician. They find out that Walter's father, Walter Senior (Douglass Watson) has just acquired a trophy wife, Florinda (Tetchie Agbayani), down in Rio de Janeiro. It turns out that they are fleeing jurisdiction of the United States courts Walter Senior has just invested millions of dollars of his clients. More bad news follows swiftly the very next morning they are told they have to immediately vacate the apartment they are living in. They are subletting from Anna's ex-husband, Max Beissart (Alexander Godunov), narcissistic conductor. He has just re a tour in Europe turned from and is terminated the sublet agreement. Having to find a place to live immediately Walter unfortunately turns to a rather shady friend of this was a realtor. His friend tells Him about a million-dollar property is desperate to sell quickly. Any with the owner, Estelle (Maureen Stapleton), who explained that her husband, Carlos (John van Dreelen), has been arrested by the Israelis because during World War II he was employed Adolf Hitler's pool man. Young couple should've thought that something was wrong with the brief tour of the house was done exclusively in candlelight. Estelle blamed it on the lawyers forcing her to save every penny but it does manage to keep Walter from noticing many potential red flags in the property as well as the delighting Anna finds it quite romantic. In order to afford it Walter arranges financing for one of the wealthiest clients while Anna sells back her ex-husband's property that she was awarded in the divorce. As to close on the house the place begins to fall apart, literally.

The front door fell off of its frame, the main stair case collapsed like a pile of sticks and instead of potable water flowing from the taps was a viscous brown substance while the electrical system quickly catches fire. The chimney falls in on itself while the dumbwaiter shaft is inhabited by raccoons. One of the most memorable scenes of the film, the upstairs bathroom dramatically crashes through the ceiling dramatically crashing through pieces on the floor. Walter and Anna realize that they have to have serious professional help, but unfortunately all of the reputable contractors turned down the job. Finally they are able to secure the dubious services of contractors Art (Joe Mantegna) and Brad Shirk (Carmine Caridi). They take the down payment immediately begin to rip apart what's left of the structure of the house. This leaves Adam and Walter help us all facing the end endless bureaucracy of obtaining building permits. Despite all the setbacks the Shirk brothers sure the hapless couple, "It will only take two weeks". Skip ahead four months in the work is still no closer to completion. Desperate for additional funds Anna goes back to Max to sell more of the artwork she obtained in the divorce. Reluctantly, he agrees to buy it and takes her to dinner. The next morning she wakes up in his bed and Max led to believe that they slept together despite the fact that he gentlemanly took the couch. But something this emotionally crushing hanging over the relationship Walter and Anna were soon in a state of constantly arguing.

The movie is a hybrid between the wild zaniness of a farce with the well-established react play format of a traditional romantic comedy. The situation that led Walter and Anna down the abyss of this money pit was completely improbable. From a Nazi caring for swimming pool to a man embezzling millions and running off with his much younger bride, the couple is beset by a type of 'Murphy's Dominoes'. That is a term I like that describes the conjunction of the pragmatism of Murphy's Law, "if you can go wrong, it will.", With the domino effect describing how small events can cascade into each other until the problem is out of control. The situation that Walter and Anna stumbled into is a perfect example. One thing that most schools of acting will teach is that the most difficult genre to master this comedy. Really easy to get an audience to cry, but to truly make them laugh is a true art form. Some of the best dramatic actors have come from a comedic background. While this is becoming more prevalent today than ever, 30 years ago still held true. Tom Hanks possesses a story and sense of comic timing able to pull off subtleties of humor to the wild insanity of physical comedy. One of the reasons that Mr. Hanks was able to give such poignant performances as an AIDS patient, astronauts or captain of a pirated ship is because his background in comedy allows him to tap into the very essence of the human condition. This film is notable if for nothing else than because it was at the precipice of Mr. Hanks entering into the more dramatic phase of his career. Sure it is silly. With more pratfall then premise but it is timeless in the way that it can still make me laugh 30 years after my wife and I watched it in the theater.
October 26, 2016
Hard to believe this underrated comedy is 30 years old. Hanks is perfect and Shelley Long is even better, even the extras are wonderful, including Alexander Godunov. Sure it's slapstick, but it's well made slapstick - they don't make comedies like this any more, hilarious and yet relatively profanity and drug free. It deserved better, in my opinion, and you've got to wonder how Shelley Long was affected by lackluster reviews, she didn't appear in many films afterwards.
Shane Sackman
Super Reviewer
½ October 10, 2016
Too slapstick to be a proper couple's comedy and too sappy to be a real slapstick comedy. The money pit attempts to recycle a couple of funny physical comedy skits into a movie. This might have worked as a 20 minute short, but the gag becomes routine and flat far too quickly.

The film has brief glimpses of potentially fun characters but does absolutely nothing with them. Numerous individuals in the show are stylized in outlandish outfits with absurd vehicles, seemingly with no purpose. The escalation of mayhem in the movie is also very poorly handled. They make no attempt to build towards a big choreographed scene with incremental moments of insanity. The movie starts too far and never really leaves that zone of too much. This might work with a three stooges style of film but the money pit seems insistent to side-track into weak moments of dialogue that are almost never funny. Alexander Godunov might be the one exception. It feels like potentially interesting side characters like Joe Mantegna were completely wasted and underdeveloped.

Tom Hanks does what he can with a lemon, which is ultimately not enough. The whole film is far too plagued with unlikeable dimwitted characters. The characters are all completely idiotic and clueless, yet we are supposed to care about their collapsing fortunes and interpersonal problems. If the bit is supposed to be the comedy, focus on the bit and leave out the poorly developed character interests.

A one-note comedy that has not aged particularly well.
August 21, 2016
Ok, I thought I had seen this before. I had not. Pretty good.
½ August 3, 2016
20.11.2014,
03.08.2016
½ July 31, 2016
Too cartoony, though parts do work. C
½ July 11, 2016
Not high art, but high-larious in many part.
June 13, 2016
Some boring parts but overall it's pretty good.
June 5, 2016
Not a bad 80s comedy - very light-hearted, with Tom Hanks playing loveable ditz and Shelley Long his girlfriend. Why they buy this really nice house for so cheap without being suspicious is never answered (& neither is where the money for the repairs comes from) but it obviously stats to fall apart and there's some pretty funny scenes and physical comedy involved. Hanks at the end of his tether is great value - sometimes forget these were the roles he started with. A nice & easy 90min.
½ May 25, 2016
Funny and a real world experience for many, this Tom Hanks movie will not make your favorite comedy list.
½ May 18, 2016
The only thing going for this train wreck of a film are Hanks' sight gags and his reactions to them. He deserves to be in a better movie than this.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2016
I honestly wish that Tom Hanks, an excellent dramatic actor in his own right, would go back, every once in a while, to comedy. There's few actors in this world that I believe are truly talented at both drama and comedy. There's some actors that appear in funny movies, but they're funny because the script is funny, not because I necessarily think that they are great comedic actors. Tom Hanks is one of the few people that fits that category of great comedy and dramatic actor, because I think, from everything I've seen about the guy, that Tom is a legitimately funny dude. And, part of his effectiveness as a comedic actor is because of that. It's not always mutually exclusive, but I think a big part of it actually being funny in real life. Then hopefully some of that might transfer itself to the film you're in. And, while I thought Shelley Long was quite good here, I think it's Tom Hanks' unhinged and insane performance as the mansion he and his girlfriend bought for $200,000, a dead giveaway that something is wrong with it, starts to collapse unto itself. Maybe not literally, but the plumbing doesn't work, neither does the electricity, there's holes in the floor and ceilings, the stairs fall apart, etc, etc. There's nothing really even that special about the movie, it's actually just a fairly straightforward slapstick comedy. But, on top of that, you have Tom Hanks going insane and being hilarious and he, pretty much single-handedly, elevates a fairly basic script and turns it into a good movie. And I know that it seems like I'm completely discounting Shelley Long's contribution and that is my bad, because she is also funny here. Her and Tom Hanks make a great comedic pairing, but it's clear, when compared to Hanks' performance, that she's the straight woman, as it were. The best straight man, that I've ever seen at least, will always remain Jason Bateman in Arrested Development. And he's not even so much of a straight man since, while he does set-up his cast mates for jokes, he also gets a great amount of jokes himself. But that's irrelevant to this review, what matters is that Shelley Long is also good here and her contributions to making the film an enjoyable one should not be denied. I do think that the film sort of loses some steam as it goes on. There's this big moment where Hanks' character falls into some paint and that, somehow, leads him to destroying all the scaffolding the workers are using to fix their house. It's actually the biggest set-piece in the entire film and, to me, it just didn't work that well. It's not that it's poorly assembled, I just didn't think it was that funny. And that's where the film does start to lose some steam, so that's a shame. There's certain moments of the film that are really funny, so I was hoping the film might retain some consistency, but it doesn't. And it's not like I think that hurts the movie a lot or it takes away from it, but it's just not as consistently entertaining during the last stretch as it is in other parts. But that really shouldn't be a deterrent, I legitimately thought this movie was an enjoyable and Tom Hanks' performance is great, so I'd say that makes this worth watching. It's not a classic or anything, but it'll entertain you for its short, 90-minute running time. I'd recommend it if it's ever on TV or if you have Netflix. Nothing that's really must-see, but a good little comedy here.
½ April 22, 2016
It's without a deep story for sure, but it provides enough great jokes and gags to be an enjoyable ride anyway.
½ April 19, 2016
The Money Pit is a movie about a couple who buy a house that slowly starts to destroy their entire lives. I used to love Tom Hanks doing comedy, and this movie reminds me why. I'm not saying I dislike Hanks in the more serious roles that he has focused on for almost 20 years now, but he excelled in comedy. This movie shows that he can pull off both physical comedy and delivering a good punchline. I love his expressions when everything in the house starts to fall apart and how he subtly shifts as his character begins to expect the next disaster. Shelley Long is an actress that I can only take in small doses, but this movie is one that allows her to be whiny and it still makes sense. Watching it again after all these years, I still find The Money Pit to be a humorous film. There are so many moments that I fondly remembered and they made me laugh all over again. Sadly, I don't love the movie as much as I did when I was a youth because I've grown up enough to have seen the reality that underlies all the wackiness in this movie. It feels almost painfully real to see a couple buy their first house and then watch every penny they have and more disappear as they struggle to make it a livable space. Also the framing device where we see the father of Tom Hanks's character was terribly out of place and should have been left on the cutting room floor. But most of these are minor complaints, because The Money Pit is a genuinely funny film, and I would recommend it.
½ March 19, 2016
Not even sure why I watched this. To check off another Hanks movie, I suppose. A comedy that had literally one laugh. Not so hot.
March 13, 2016
A gem from my childhood.
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2016
Another good film, that could be much better.
January 14, 2016
For some reason I hadn't seen this until tonight. Feel like I shoulda seen it as a kid or something, but I guess I didn't. There's some great physical comedy in this, but it takes a little while to get started and it's kinda uneven. But overall it's good. There were some parts where I laughed hard.
November 14, 2015
I recently watched "The Money Pit", having only seen it one other time as a kid, and I have to say, this movie is certainly one that you can take a pass on. My memory of the movie was that I thought it was fine, and that is basically how I feel about it as an adult. Sure, there are a handful of funny moments, but they are not worth sitting through an entire feature for. Despite performances by some huge names from the '80s and an interesting message about relationships, the movie simply does not manage to be fun the way that it wants to be.

The Money Pit
Grade: C
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