Prizzi's Honor | Chicago Reader

Prizzi's Honor

Rated R 130 minutes 1985

Director John Huston must have conceived this Richard Condon adaptation as a black, camp comedy in the tradition of his Beat the Devil and Wise Blood, but Jack Nicholson's inaccessibly eccentric lead performance pushes it toward the druggy arbitrariness of his own Goin' South. Nicholson is a plump, slow-witted scion of a New York Mafia family who falls in love with a glamorous California woman (Kathleen Turner) before he realizes that she, too, is in the business—as a con artist and professional killer. Huston does a reverse take on the material, underplaying the grotesque situation until it turns into a parody on the problems of the average working couple, but the pacing is so lugubrious that the laughs never materialize. As usual, Turner works hard and manages to lend some conviction to a shoddily written part, but she can't connect with Nicholson, whose obscure hamminess leaves him isolated on some other planet. With Anjelica Huston and Robert Loggia. (1985)

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