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Retro-review: Punching clowns, watering up aliens in 'Real Men'




TODAY'S RETRO-REVIEW: 1987's Real Men, starring Jim Belushi and the late John Ritter. It's the only directing credit for Dennis Feldman, who also wrote Real Men in addition to writing The Golden Child and Just One of the Guys. (And the Species movies in the '90s.)

THE PLOT: A womanizing CIA agent (Belushi) recruits a wimpy and insecure insurance agent (Ritter) for a mission to meet aliens, dodge agents-gone-bad (dressed as circus clowns) and save the planet (by giving a glass of water to an alien with a "good package."). You know, your basic sci-fi/comedy/sex flick.

MAYBE YOU REMEMBER:  According to DVD Verdict, "Real Men was barely released theatrically. The distributor, United Artists, was still suffering the aftereffects of the Heaven's Gate fiasco and financial troubles were still in full force."

SURELY YOU CAN'T FORGET: Ritter didn't have many film opportunities in the '80s. After starring in Three's Company, the majority of his credits were still in TV movies. His only other big-screen credits were Wholly Moses (1980), They All Laughed (1981) and Skin Deep (1989). 

WHAT CRITICS SAID: "John Ritter and James Belushi have good comic chemistry together, although both have been better before and after Real Men. Belushi is especially funny when he nonchalantly breaks one bit of bad news after another to a panic ridden Ritter. Ritter at first doesn't have much to do, but he builds on the situation and delivers a subtle comic performance. Plus, he hadn't lost his touch for slapstick. What a shame that John Ritter is no longer with us. Just imagine: with a bigger budget and better distribution, what a follow-up he and Belushi could have done together." -- DVD Verdict

WHY WE LOVE IT ANYWAY: Belushi was at the top of his physical comedy in the '80s. Ritter was rediscovering how good he could be off the tube. And it was the antithesis of a buddy/cop movie during a time when so many bad ones were being cranked out. Like a Monty Python movie, you have to embrace the cheese and enjoy.

Unlike most movies we honor, the funniest bits were in the exchanges between Ritter (Bob) and Belushi (Nick); not in single quotes.

Nick: "We're as safe here as we are anywhere."
Bob: "How safe is that?"
Nick: "Oh, not very."

Bob: "They're gonna shoot at us, aren't they?"
Nick: "Probably, Bob. It's what they brought the guns for."

Bob: "What are they trying to do?"
Nick: "They're trying to kill me. They know I can't afford a loss like that."


[Last modified: Thursday, July 14, 2011 11:05am]


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