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FINDERS KEEPERS

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: Long out of print, Richard Lester’s frantic farce ‘Finders Keepers’ is new to Blu-ray and DVD, courtesy of Kino Lorber. Here’s my May 25, 1984, Deseret news review.

“Finders Keepers” has such a convoluted storyline that it virtually defies description. But I’ll try.

The time is 1973, and Vietnam, Nixon and Watergate are all subjects of discussion.

The action begins with the manager of a roller-derby team, Michael Rangeloff (Michael O’Keefe), bumbling the team’s play date, so women on skates chase him down the road (he’s on skates, too). Then Rangeloff is forced at gunpoint to climb into a bathtub with the police chief’s wife. Later, when the chief has him in the squad car, it crashes into another vehicle, allowing Rangeloff to escape.

Unfortunately, he flees in his underwear, so he pawns his watch for some clothing, a military uniform. At the train station, Rangeloff is followed by MPs, so he drapes a flag over a coffin and says he’s taking a dead war buddy home to be buried.

Then he meets a foul-mouthed, vulgar actress (Beverly D’Angelo), the goon (Ed Lauter) who is really traveling with the coffin, and soon discovers that instead of a body, the coffin contains $5 million in cash. Before long Rangeloff’s mentor, a con man named Century (Louis Gossett Jr.), shows up and they try to come up with a way to steal the already stolen money.

    

     Michael O'Keefe, Beverly D'Angelo, Louis Gossett Jr.

From here on, it gets complicated.

Resembling “Silver Streak” and “Ocean’s Eleven” and a few other cross-country chase comedies, “Finders Keepers” boasts a very appealing cast and a first-rate comic director, Richard Lester, who has given us such diverse fare as “A Hard Day’s Night,” “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum,” “Petulia,” “Robin and Marian,” “The Three Musketeers” and “Superman II.”

But “Finders Keepers” suffers from a script (co-written by Lester) that has more tangled plots than good gags. You’ll find some laughs here, and Lester manages to give the proceedings his personal touch with some wonderful sight gags. But for the most part, it’s overblown and underfunny.

     

One of the main problems here, especially early on, is a common one in movie comedy today. The filmmakers confuse tastelessness with humor.

The performances are very good, with O’Keefe quite charming as a failed would-be con man, Gossett as his teacher, and many supporting roles are played extremely well, particularly David Wayne as a doddering train conductor. But Beverly D’Angelo nearly steals the show in her floozy role. Occasionally the material lets her down (as it does everyone here), but more often than not, she’s very funny.

Deservedly rated R for the bathtub sequence and some profanity, “Finders Keepers” has periodic laughter, but not nearly enough, considering those involved.