While “Easy Money” and “Men at Work” are imperfect films, they’re also raucously entertaining and centered on the quick wits of their stars. They’re also original movies about the working class thrust in to funny and unusual situations, from earning a fortune to trying to fight political corruption and a crime ring. “Easy Money” from 1983 is an entertaining and hilarious comedy starring Rodney Dangerfield as Monty, a professional photographer and family man. He’s a man prone to something of a hedonistic lifestyle. He loves his family, and his daughters, but he also loves smoking, drinking, indulging in fatty foods, and gambling almost non-stop.
Monty loves his lifestyle, and has no intentions to change, especially considering he hangs around a group of friends who share his lifestyle, and love his company. That includes his best friend Nicky who is comfortable in his own lifestyle of debauchery and heavy food. When Monty learns that his wife’s wealthy mother has died, Monty is informed during the reading of her will that he has inherited ten million dollars. The catch is, in order to claim the fortune Monty has to live clean for an entire year. Monty has to figure out what’s more important: indulging in his own pleasures, or potentially garnering a fortune that could keep his family comfortable for years. Dangerfield’s descent in to healthy living results in some funny circumstances, including the sudden emergence of temptations all around him, and his efforts to distract himself with various hobbies.
Dangerfield handles the film very well which varies from raunchy to heartfelt quite often. Monty ultimately comes to the realization if he wants to give up his pleasures for the fortune, all the while putting up with his persistent youngest daughter hell bent on keeping him on the straight and narrow, and another daughter who is being courted by her persistent Latin lover (the hilarious late Taylor Negron). Despite being tonally uneven, Dangerfield’s priceless ad libbing and great chemistry with Pesci more than compensate. “Men at Work” from 1990 is one of my childhood favorites, a bonafide underrated pairing of brothers Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen that shows what they’re capable of as a comedy team. They play two garbage collectors that live life by their own standards and enjoying doing what they do.
One night while peeping on their neighbors they’re witnesses to a domestic abuse, and accidentally are a party to a mysterious murder. Realizing they’re a part of a larger scheme involving corruption in the government, the pair must rely on their wits to really come out of this plot alive, all the while eliciting their typical antics and pranks in the process. “Men at Work” is a fun and breezy crime comedy with some great performances by folks like Keith David. There’s also Estevez and Sheen, both of whom are charming and entertaining. While most don’t consider it a classic, it doesn’t deserve its apparent obscurity, since it’s still a raucous and charismatic buddy comedy. The Blu-Ray from Shout unfortunately doesn’t garner any special features, but it’s nice to have both films on Blu finally.