Directed by the same people responsible for Airplane! (1980) and Top Secret! (1985) -- Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and David Zucker -- Ruthless People is a decidedly different effort from the team's trademark gag-a-minute movies. Screenwriter Dale Launer came up with a snappy, low-brow comic farce based on the O. Henry story Ransom of Red Chief, in the process giving the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker trio one of their most cohesive, consistent efforts. The solid casting is highlighted by Bill Pullman's debut performance as an inept petty criminal and Danny DeVito's hilariously spiteful millionaire husband. DeVito is one of the rare actors who can remain charming even when he's being nasty; his frustrations at not being able to get rid of his wife are show-stopping.