Combustible Celluloid
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With: Richard Dreyfuss, Danny DeVito, Barbara Hershey, John Mahoney, Jackie Gayle, Seymour Cassel, Bruno Kirby, Michael Tucker, J. T. Walsh, Matt Craven, Richard Portnow, Alan Blumenfeld, Deirdre O'Connell
Written by: Barry Levinson
Directed by: Barry Levinson
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 112
Date: 03/06/1987

Tin Men (1987)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

I Don't Know the Guy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The second film in Barry Levinson's Baltimore Trilogy -- after Diner and before Avalon -- can be described as "subtle," a quality that's not usually associated with mainstream comedies.

Danny DeVito and Richard Dreyfuss play dueling aluminum siding salesmen, circa 1963, who have accidentally smashed up each other's big-finned Cadillacs.

The great cast also includes Barbara Hershey, John Mahoney, Jackie Gayle, Seymour Cassel, Bruno Kirby, and J. T. Walsh. The pop group Fine Young Cannibals performs in a nightclub and contributes several songs.

Levinson's scenes consist mostly of mundane dialogue designed to almost cover up what each character is really feeling. The bonus is that this dialogue is cleverly funny. In one hilarious scene, DeVito's character explains to his wife how he hates picnics. You laugh, but you realize how this illustrates the emptiness of their relationship.

The funniest scene is the "smorgasbord-religion" scene, but there are plenty more gems.

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