Tin Men (1987)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Period Film  |   Release Date - Mar 6, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Barry Levinson's episodic comedy on the feud of a couple of aluminum-siding hustlers is often a very funny outing which never meshes convincingly. Returning to the Baltimore of the early '60s, the site of his classic Diner, the director focuses on some older but hardly wiser characters, a pair of "tin men" whose pride in the fraudulence of their sales techniques makes the film something of a Glengarry Glen Ross "lite." Levinson underscores the insecurities of this tribe of capitalist warriors who enjoy bragging about the size of their Caddys and the stupidity of the marks they've just scammed. Danny DeVito, who long ago cornered the market on maniacally petty characters, plays the loudest of the lot, a man so on edge that a simple fender-bender can ignite an escalating orgy of mutual property destruction. The irascible and more successful Richard Dreyfuss character he battles is slightly less crazy, and it is he who finally begins to connect his unhappiness with the dishonesty of his livelihood. If Levinson misses the mark in reaching for a weightier conclusion than the loosely structured script can bear, the film yields at least one immortal comic turn in stand-up Jackie Gayle's running schtick on the more dubious aspects of television's then-popular Bonanza.