Once Upon A Crime

Once Upon A Crime. Ascot Films 1992.

Before watching the movie:

I’ve always kind of wanted to see a movie knowing nothing more about it than who’s in it and what genre it is. Once Upon A Crime is a murder mystery spoof with John Candy. I found it on Hulu and decided to watch it on those credentials. Apparently, he wears a mustache in it.

During/after watching the movie:

Phoebe arrives in Europe  penniless and broken-hearted. She reads in the paper about a lost dachshund with a huge reward. Unfortunately, she finds the dog in the hands of Julian Peters, broke actor. Reluctantly, she cuts him in and takes him along to Monte Carlo to return it. On the train, they get mixed up with Augie Morosco (John Candy), a gentleman who offers even more to buy the dog from them. He also advises Neil Schwery (Jim Belushi) on the hazards of gambling addiction.

Schwery arrives at the casino and loses everything. Phoebe and Julian arrive at the mansion of the dog’s owner and discover her dead. Morosco then arrives at the casino and goes into a gambling frenzy along with Schwery, and the two of them go even worse into the red. Phoebe and Julian start running away from the police, afraid of being suspects. Meanwhile, Schwery asks God for “something to get me out of this mess… like a suitcase of money.” He finds and steals the suitcase Phoebe left at the mansion, but when he gets it back to the hotel, he discovers it has the dead woman’s body in it, and he and his wife flee. But it’s only a matter of time before the police hunt them all down and start to cut through their web of lies.

Candy is introduced as a suave gentleman and recovered gambling addict, and while he plays it well enough, it’s just so against his type it’s hard to believe him. Every appearance after that scene he has a reason to be one kind of manic or another, which is kind of a shame because I was willing to give him a chance to do something different. He’s also probably the least important protagonist, but gets top billing as the biggest name. I’d rather he got Best for Last billing, which I call the “big And.”

This is another fun, forgettable film that I’m glad I saw. The primary couples work well together, the police are very watchable, and the solution is surprising.

See this film: if you’ve got a couple hours to relax.

Don’t see this film: if you’re innocent. You’ll clearly become the prime suspect.

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