Quick Change (1990)

Genres - Comedy, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Errors, Crime Comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 27, 1990 (USA)  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Quick Change has one of the smartest first acts of any comedy out there -- enough for some viewers to consider it among Bill Murray's best vehicles, not to mention their favorite comedies in general. The scheme hatched by Murray, Geena Davis, and Randy Quaid to knock over a bank in the thick of downtown, then release themselves as frightened hostages, approaches sheer brilliance. The three seasoned performers play the marvelous setup perfectly. Somewhat inevitably, though, the film begins to droop through its second and third acts, becoming broader and laboriously quirky. Even though it's wonderful to watch them continue issuing demands for monster trucks and helicopters from a position of safety, as though the heist were still in progress, one misses the under-pressure dynamism that propels the first 30 minutes. The contrivance that gives them away feels forced, and from there these smart robbers start bumbling, with the unhinged Quaid giving over to slapstick panic that flies in the face of their prior poise. Still, the absurdities that block their path to the airport are reasonably funny pokes at New York City and the alternately messy and slavish infrastructure the film rails against. Look for Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci in humorous ethnic supporting roles, in some of their earliest film appearances. Murray had not before and has not since either directed or co-directed a film, though this collaboration with screenwriter/director Howard Franklin hints at a real talent for it.