Following up her surprise hit debut Fast Times at Ridgemont High, director Amy Heckerling does her best Jim Abrahams-Jerry Zucker imitation with the gag-heavy Johnny Dangerously. The first gangster send-up in the new golden era of parodies, the film floats along on spitfire performances from Michael Keaton, Marilu Henner, and Joe Piscopo, as well as a high-energy period soundtrack. It has more than its share of misses, but the hits are memorable and quote-worthy. Says Piscopo's Vermin, "You shouldn't hang me on a hook, Johnny. My mother hung me on a hook once...once." It's the delivery more than the line that's so great, as, for the only time outside of Saturday Night Live, Piscopo's sneering tough guy personality is put to good comic use. Keaton has a winking charm, and Henner adds spice to what is already a pretty ribald comedy. It's no classic, but Johnny Dangerously has enough warmth and comedic zip to please fans of the parody genre.
by Derek Armstrong review