Ruthless People - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ruthless People Reviews

Page 1 of 26
Super Reviewer
October 21, 2017
A gleefully dark farce. Midler's over-the-top antics and DeVito's sleazy persona play really well here.
September 29, 2017
when hollywood could make funny and edgy films
September 4, 2017
Danny DeVito and Bette Midler portray truly ruthless people in this masterful black comedy directed by the Airplane! team. An extortion plan gone wrong occurs as Bette Midler is kidnapped by two bumbling wannabe criminals and DeVito is asked for a ransom; but he really wants to get rid of his wife so he ignores the demands. Hilarity ensues in a surefire manner. Great support from Judge Reinhold, Anita Morris, Helen Slater, and Bill Pullman in a very early role.
½ July 22, 2017
Acting: 20/20
Writing: 30/40
Directing/Editing/Production/Etc: 38/40

Overall: 88/100 B+

Review: Danny DeVito and Bette Midler really get a chance to showcase
their talents in this film. Whenever either one is on the screen, they
immediately grab your attention with the way that they completely give
themselves over to these roles. The delivery of their lines are
perfect, and the nuances of facial expression and body language from
both actors are exemplary examples of how to take comedy to a higher

Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater, as the kidnappers. also perform true
to their characters and provide solid performances. In addition, Anita
Morris and Bill Pullman add great entertainment values with their own
characters. Bill Pullman, particularly, does a phenomenal job with his

As far as the comedic part of this script goes, I have to give it an
A+. This film is so clever and the jokes never stop hitting the mark.
From the abundance of witty lines to the comical situations and the
many scenes that intertwine the two, this film is well worth the watch.
Some of the jokes were so direct and biting - but hilarious - I doubt
they'd be used in a similar comedy in today's time.

That being said, there were some choices in the script that took away
from the film.

*Spoiler Alert!*

The biggest plot hole was the fact that the kidnappers were able to
pull off their intelligent and elaborate scheme at the end of the film,
yet had been so easily deceived by DeVito's character which "triggered"
the kidnapping in the first place. This took away from the ending of
the film.

In addition, the ending scene of Bette Midler's character joining the
couple on the beach with the 3 of them "going off into the sunset",
after pushing DeVito's character off of the Santa Monica pier, was a
very odd choice. Barbara was established as a very nasty character and
while it can be said that her husband used her and maybe she gained
weight from being so unhappy, she didn't get any nicer at the end of
the film; There was no change in heart for her. So it was a bit odd
that she lost 20 pounds, took her husband's money and walked off into
the sunset without having to pay for her "ruthless" character, as
others did in the film, but getting rewarded for it instead. Not sure
if it was saying women can/do/should get away with that stuff or what
the message there was?

Furthermore, another plot hole was the fact that Anita Morris'
character had her picture with Sam published in the newspaper (after
the photos were found by the police) yet she wasn't contacted by the
police, nor did she make any note of her picture being in the newspaper
and even went on to keep "blackmailing" the police chief. This was odd,
though the situation and lines used here were hilarious.

*End of Spoiler Alert!*

The beginning of the film starts with an animation sequence that lasts
for about 2:35. It's not exactly the most enticing introduction and in
modern times, could be seen as kind of cheesy. Aside from that, the
flow and pace of the film were flawless and the editing and production
etc. warrant no complaints.

Overall this film is a really great comedy that delivered laughs
throughout the entire film. A very fun watch!
March 12, 2017
Ruthless People stars Bette Midler (capitalizing on her comeback performance in Down and Out in Beverly Hills) as Barbara, a spoiled rich woman who is kidnapped by the kindly Ken and Sandy Kessler (Judge Reinhold and Helen Slater). Barbara's forceful husband Sam (Danny DeVito) has ripped off the Kesslers and they decide to hold Barbara for ransom. Sam, who hates his wife, refuses to pay. Eventually Barbara befriends the Kesslers and together they figure out how to exact revenge upon the obnoxious Sam. Bill Pullman makes his film debut here as a very dim, would-be criminal.
½ October 21, 2016
An amasing unforgettable comedy
½ August 20, 2016
One the best comedies of the 80's!
August 17, 2016
A greedy shark's wife is kidnapped by a couple whom he owes money but because he hates his wife, he refuses to pay any ransom. This comedy is another hit for the Zucker team and because of it's well written script and memorable performances by its cast, making this a borderline classic.
½ June 29, 2016
Una de las mejores comedias de los 80 y de todos los tiempos...Love it!
½ June 6, 2016
Very funny and well done. Definitely one to watch.
½ May 24, 2016
While a little dated, Ruthless people still provides a healthy amount of laughs largely due to a script that's, well, ruthless.
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2016
Without all the madness of Airplane, The Naked Gun or Top Secret, the trio: Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker made a terrific intelligent comedy, with the misunderstandings between the characters, the complex plot, a funny cast (with the best of Danny DeVito) make Ruthless People one of the greatest comedy film of the 80's and of the Touchstone Pictures. Fresh.
½ February 3, 2016
It works wonderfully well - hilarious, surprising and silly as all hell. I love this movie.
½ January 1, 2016
If we're being ruthless - this film probably shouldn't have been made! A very weak premise, with Sam (DeVito) wanting to kill his wife (Barbara - Midler), only for her to be kidnapped by Ken (Reinhold) & Sandy (Slater), who mean well & get off in the end - great morals! Pullman's as wooden as ever in his first role and Midler is annoying - it's mostly just stupid, with a few laughs, but not enough.
½ October 9, 2015
10/9/2015: Some pretty cheesy 80's fun. Not a great movie, but the cast is excellent and there are some funny moments. So cheesy though, especially the 80's clothing and home decor.
August 11, 2015
The best Coen brothers comedy the Coen brothers never made. "Ruthless People" is a laugh per minute crime caper.
½ August 4, 2015
Face it - there aren't a lot of truly funny comedies out there. Some of them start out ok, but once the gags already seen in the trailers are exhausted, there's not much left - and the lead characters have to learn some lesson or grow as people. Blah! Ruthless people is pure comedy from start to finish. This film is well-written, well cast and, if you'll excuse this lapse into "blurb-speak", is a fun romp. One of my favourite comedies of all time.
½ July 8, 2015
Ruthless People is not as good as the other works by Jim Abrahams and the Zucker brothers, but is still quite hilarious at times and actually has a pretty interesting plot. Danny DeVito is hilarious here, as are Bette Midler and Judge Reinhold. The writing is quite strong and every scene seemingly manages to have a joke or two, as is customary in their films. Not all of the jokes work out here and it can go too far at times, but for the most part, it manages to be hilarious and provides for some serious entertainment as the hour and a half just flies by.
April 19, 2015
I finally got around to watching this, and while it isn't as wacky as most other Zucker/Zucker/Abrahams projects, it is a well crafted dark comedy that is often hilarious and still full of entertaining buffoonery.
Page 1 of 26