8 Heads in a Duffel Bag

Bomb Rating: 

After seeing "McHale's Navy," "'Til There Was You," "Double Team" and "Anaconda" -- right in a row -- "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag" seemed like a present straight from heaven. It was like working in a zoo your whole life cleaning up after the elephants, and then suddenly being allowed to go clean up after the camels.

Black comedies hardly ever work in Hollywood because directors, producers and studios can't seem to shake the bad habit of wanting to make everything cute. As a result, they are able to say the words "cute" and "black comedy" in the same sentence without realizing that the two go together about as well as sleeping pills and applesauce.

While half of this film follows mob delivery man Tommy (Joe Pesci, expanding his range ever-so-slightly by playing a mobster who isn't completely psycho) as he tries to get his heads back after switching bags in the airport, the other half follows Charlie (Andy Comeau) as he tries to explain to his girlfriend (Kristy Swanson) and her parents (George Hamilton, Dyan Cannon) how he came to have eight heads in his bag .

The mere presence of George Hamilton and Dyan Cannon is proof that director Tom Schulman has a commitment to black comedy like Elizabeth Taylor has a commitment to marriage. Filmgoers have yet to figure out what Hamilton's talent is, aside from his tan, while Cannon's major career achievement consists of showing up to Lakers games. If this were a real black comedy, George and Dyan would have been mercifully decapitated in the opening scene and their heads loaded aboard the next Titan rocket and blasted straight into space.

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