13 March 2013

Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnny (1991)
  • Director: Garry Marshall
  • Based on Book: no
  • Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino, Hector Elizondo, Nathan Lane, Kate Nelligan,
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Michelle Pfeiffer –White Oleander, I Am Sam, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Thousand Acres, Love Field, The Fantastic Baker Boys, Married to the Mafia, and many more
    • Al Pacino – Looking for Richard, The Merchant of Venice, Dog Day Afternoon. Angels in America, Insomnia, Donnie Brasco, Heat, Carlito’s Way, Scent of a Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross, Sea of Love, Serpico, Panic in Needle Park and many more
    • Hector Elizondo – Pretty Woman, Baretta, Maude
    • Nathan Lane – Love’s Labour’s Lost, Ironweed
    • Kate Nelligan – Cider House Rules, Prince of Tides, Measure for Measure, The Onedin Line
  • Why bought: Pacino and Pfeiffer, and remembered liking it
  • Seen: twice. First time -? Now September 29, 2012

          What a weird thing memory is! I bought this DVD because I really liked this movie in which Al Pacino plays an ex-con working as a short order cook where Michelle Pfeiffer is a waitress and he has very low self-esteem because he’s illiterate and she discovers this and teaches him to read.
I’d been looking forward to seeing this movie again for ages.
Right.  It starts out just fine but the truth slowly sinks in.  This is not that film. Ex-con, waitress, greasy spoon – yes.   The rest – no.  So which movie am I remembering?
I was sorely disappointed.
What about the movie it actually is then?
Well, Pacino and Pfeiffer are great as always.  The whole cast is very good.  And when I managed to get my false memory out of my brain I remembered almost everything from the first time I saw it. Unfortunately I also remembered not liking it so much, and disappointment aside, I didn’t like it much this time either.  It’s portrayal of aloneness and loneliness in the big bad city was, although excellently acted, depressing but not convincing. Pacino’s character was just too much, in spite of the Shakespeare quotes, and living with him would drive me crazy in two days.  Two hours was too much. Pfeiffer’s character is depressed and damaged but really just a sad cliché.
If it had been me I would have said, “No, Johnny, you can’t have my blue toothbrush. I think I’ll go back to school instead.”
But she doesn’t and it ends up being a romantic comedy where love solves everything.  I’m being harsh on this one, probably because I expect so much of Pacino and Pfeiffer.
2* of 5.

PS. Aha! The name Stanley just popped into my head. Looked it up in Maltin and there it was. Stanley and Iris. Jane Fonda and Robert DeNiro.  Whew. What a relief.


  1. I think it's safe to say that I enjoyed Frankie and Johnny a lot more than you did, your review made me smile though.
    Stanley and Iris...better luck next time!

    1. :-) As did your comment. I'll probably like it better next time, when I'm not expecting something else. S+I: Thanks! I still haven't got around to watching it but I'll let you know when I do.

    2. PS Nice Pfeiffer-Ryan page! Have you seen my review on A Thousand Acres here? I was kinder to Pfeiffer there...

    3. Thanks for the welcome, and yes I did enjoy your review of A Thousand Acres.