Throw Momma from the Train


Throw Momma from the Train

Critics Consensus

Danny DeVito's direction is too broad to offer the kind of nastiness that would have made Throw Momma from the Train truly special, but DeVito's on-screen chemistry with co-star Billy Crystal makes this a smoothly entertaining comedy.



Total Count: 34


Audience Score

User Ratings: 40,496
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Movie Info

The "exchange murders" plot gambit, played with utter solemnity in Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, is used as the launching pad for raucous laughter in Throw Momma From the Train. Director/star Danny DeVito plays Owen Lift, a middle-aged bachelor, totally dominated by his gorgon mother, played with hilarious ferocity by Anne Ramsey. Billy Crystal co-stars as Larry Donner, a creative-writing professor, saddled with a vituperative, thoroughly despicable ex-wife, Margaret (Kate Mulgrew). Signing up for Larry's writing course, Owen has trouble at first with character development and construction in his stories. Larry recommends that Owen watch a screening of Strangers on a Train, which he considered a model of tight, concise storytelling. Owen is so entranced by the film that he decides to emulate Strangers star Robert Walker. That is, Owen wants Larry to bump off his mother, in exchange for Owen's murder of Margaret. Without being asked, Owen does away with Margaret (or so it seems), then hounds Larry to the point of killing "Momma." This being a comedy, the actual consequences of the swap-murder plot aren't nearly as calamitous as in the Hitchcock film. Cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld would apply the "black humor" lessons learned in Throw Momma From the Train for his own directorial debut, The Addams Family (1991).

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Critic Reviews for Throw Momma from the Train

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for Throw Momma from the Train

  • Apr 23, 2014
    Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito team up for the off-the-wall comedy Throw Momma From the Train. After being framed for his ex-wife's disappearance, writing instructor Larry Donner is blackmailed by one of his students who wants Donner to kill his mother for him. Crystal and DeVito are great together and give a lot of personality to their characters. Yet, there are some problems with the tone as the film seems unsure of how dark to take the comedy. Additionally, there are some script problems (especially in the last act). Throw Momma From the Train is uneven and derails a little bit, but it's still a fun ride.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2013
    Ugh! And tie the director to the tracks! This is mindless dreck with a supremely annoying and unimaginative cast.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2012
    Ah come on. Not too many fans but it was amusing. DeVito and Crystal do a good job here and I think this remake benefits from being put forward as a comedy. It provides a nice counter to the Hitchcock version.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 02, 2012
    I don't think the more upbeat ending lives up to the darker and more intereting setup but DeVito, Crystal, and Ramsey are all great. I like the way the plot riffs on "Strangers on a Train", where the same plan is implemented by an depressed idiot rather that a evil genius.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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