"The Crew" is one of those comedies that tinkles rather than gushes with humorous relief.
Every once in a while there's a reason to smile -- even giggle -- but unless you're a sucker for the silly gag or cockamamie script, you'll get antsy for "the end" so you can go home and get some sleep.
A codger-buddy-mobster-movie, "The Crew" undoubtedly was made because there are a lot of aging (and fading) but still recognizable actors and actresses hanging around Hollywood who will work for cheap.
In this case Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Reynolds, Jennifer Tilly and several other lesser lights hod-carry a film that otherwise would have been a direct-to-video release, the heck with trying to woo the theatrical crowd at $6.50 a pop.
Directed by Michael ("Heaven Help Us") Dinner, the film offers a light-headed story about four low-level Wise Guys -- Dreyfuss, Reynolds, Dan Hedaya and Seymour Cassel -- living in retirement at a seedy hotel along Miami's South Beach.
The hotel is rapidly filling up with fleshy young people with Yuppie money, so the foursome concocts a wacky plan to discourage the rich and beautiful from moving in and displacing the retirees, accustomed to low rents, bargain meals and days on the oceanfront porch.
The Wise Guys -- with goofy nicknames like "Bats" (Reynolds) and "The Brick" (Hedaya) -- stage a murder in the hotel's lobby, using a corpse they've stolen from the local morgue.
It turns out the dead guy is the ancient Don of one of the Miami crime families (Spanish-speaking, of course), now headed by the plump, mean-as-a-snake son who doesn't take kindly to the Wise Guys' act. Hee! Hee!
The crime lord sends out his henchmen in search of Pop's "killers" -- he wasn't aware the old Don had died a natural death and had been stored in the morgue -- while the crew settles nervously (Ha! Ha!) into beachside life.
Tony "The Mouth" Donato (Cassel) falls for a stripper (Tilly) on one of the crew's "nights out," eventually spilling the beans in a fit of old-guy-young-girl passion (Giggle! Giggle!).
Dreyfuss, as Bobby Bartellemeo, narrates the film from start to finish, presumably to keep the audience alert enough to make it to the film's happy (sigh) end.
The best that can be said is that "The Crew" is harmless enough for most PG-13 audiences, assuming you close your eyes on Tilly's revealing costumes and a stripper scene or two. But leave your funny bone at home.
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