8 Heads in a Duffel Bag

1/2*

Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag is a dark comedy that aims to shock, but dulls instead. The heads in the title refer to eight decapitated heads that mobster Tommy Spinelli (Joe Pesci) is carrying cross country as proof of a successful mob hit. Of course, there wouldn't be a movie if he made the journey quickly and easily. As it happens, he mistakenly switches bags with Charlie Pritchett (Andy Comeau), a graduate student bound for a spring break vacation in Mexico with his girlfriend (Kristy Swanson) and her parents (George Hamilton and Dyan Cannon). To track down Charlie and the heads, Tommy enlists the aid (well, tortures it out of) two of Charlie's fraternity brothers (David Spade and Todd Louiso). Initial concept aside, most of the film lacks the inspired zanyness required to make a great black comedy. There are a few bits in the film that nearly reach their goal (a dream sequence late in the film is somewhat amusing), but none hit their target. Instead, the film merely tries for a grizly screwball comedy, and fails there too. The setups are so blatant, that you know what the filmmakers were trying for, but it just isn't funny. Pesci, who can be mesmerizing as a mobster, just hands in his performance here. Perhaps he burned out on variations of a theme, or maybe he just didn't want to give the effort, but whatever the cause, it's evident on film. The other lead, Andy Comeau, doesn't make much of an impression as he bumbles through the film. The rest of the cast doesn't have much to do, and doesn't do it very well. Those David Spade fans who hope to find some gems here would have better luck rewatching their tapes of his 1-800-COLLECT commercials. Don't waste your time on this one, folks.

[R] (Orion)


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