MARRIED TO THE MOB (1988)

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Married To The Mob bluray

MARRIED TO THE MOB (1988)
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Available on Radiance Films Blu-Ray

Angela is unhappy with her marriage to mafioso Frank ‘The Cucumber’ de Marco, but finds a way out when her unfaithful husband meets a grisly end. After attracting unwanted attention from Frank’s boss, Tony ‘The Tiger’ Russo and his jealous wife Connie, Angela moves to the city with young son Joey to start a new life. However, Tony’s infatuation with Angela means he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants, whilst the FBI reckon Angela could be the ticket to banging up Tony for good!

All-star crime comedy MARRIED TO THE MOB oozes 80’s style as we see the hilariously nicknamed gangsters face their ultimate downfall, as one woman looks to do what others have not dared – break herself free of the mob.

Right from the start of the film, it’s easy to empathise with Angela. She’s in a marriage where she’s forced to attend dinner parties and hang out with the wives of the other mobsters, otherwise she draws criticism, not just from the other gangsters and their spouses, but also from her husband. Everything they own is paid for in blood money and she wants out – a clean start for her and her boy, away from the stench of criminality and death. The presence of a revolver in the kitchen drawer, where son Joey easily can easily locate it, is the final straw. However, divorce is an impossible solution when you’re married to the mob. Frank, a cold-blooded killer, clearly likes the idea of marriage to a beautiful woman but doesn’t actually care for his family, and the prospect of divorce he simply laughs off. Though there’s more than one way to get out of a marriage… When the opportunity presents itself, she snatches it with both hands, and leaves vowing to never look back, but that doesn’t mean the mafia won’t come knocking at her door.

Michelle Pfeiffer plays her part as Angela with such gusto. She’s vulnerable but has an inner strength and independent streak as seen when she refuses to partake in any social gathering with the mobsters. Her bid to break away from the mafiosa is a gutsy move, and you can’t help but root for her as she tries to make the best of a bad situation from the ground up. The grimy apartment she moves into with young son Joey, that has a bath tub placed slap-bang in the middle of the kitchen area, reflects the position she’s in. It may not be much, but it’s honest and it’s theirs. With a bit of hard work, she can make their life better.

The movie isn’t short of hilarity. You’ve got Angela’s wailing mother-in-law throwing herself on top of her son’s casket at his funeral for starters. The rest of comedy is very visual and dry at times, usually presented in the form of the characters. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but it’s the way the characters present themselves and react that bring the laughs – a natural comedy rather than one that relies on punchlines. This could easily be converted into a straight drama if they dialled back a bit, which is the beauty of why it works so well. So much of what is on-screen has a certain reality to it, even if it is slightly exaggerated for laughs.

Mercedes Ruehl is outstanding as Connie Russo, the hot-headed, jealous wife of Tony who knows her husband has a penchant for chasing other women but will do whatever it takes to protect what’s hers. This creates some fantastic scenes between her and Pfeiffer’s Angela. Ruehl lights up every scene she’s in, and is quite the comical character as Connie even though she too is a victim. Connie is likely envious of Angela, a beautiful, younger woman who has the guts to walk away. Not only has her husband Tony got his eye on Angela, but she’s living a life free of the restraints of her own. Though she has benefited from a wonderful lifestyle, Connie has looked the other way to her husband’s activities, and tried to be the damn best boss’ wife she can be, but is constantly betrayed by the man she loves anyway though she doesn’t want to admit it to herself. It’s much easier to blame the other women than the powerful man that sleeps beside her at night.

Then there’s Matthew Modine as FBI agent Mike Downey, who becomes the debatable master of disguises as he slips into several different outfits to blend in with the crowd in order to spy on Angela and get closer to catching Tony Russo. At first, it’s hard to fully warm up to him as both Downey and his FBI partner Ed Benitez, played by Oliver Platt, are dead set on using Angela to get to Russo. When Downey discovers that Angela may not be as tied up in Russo’s affairs as he first thought, we see a more caring side to him which contrasts his “do whatever it takes” nature of his day job. Modine’s Downey has a clownish quality to him at times, which is endearing to see, and it seems Angela is attracted to this type of man in her life, rather than an absent mafioso who is cold and calculating. His scenes with Angela’s kid Joey shows off his other likeable qualities, and as he and Angela begin to bond more, the lines between his career and his personal life begin to blur.

Heading up the mob is Dean Stockwell as big cheese Tony Russo. To look at, he doesn’t seem that intimidating, but his on-screen presence is captivating as the mob boss who gets whatever he desires. Tony’s cool-as-a-cucumber attitude sees him take things in his stride, but under the surface bubbles a self-centred menace who will do whatever it takes to remain number one, and he never takes no for an answer!

You wouldn’t think that a story about the mob could be a charming, light-hearted comedy drama but this is exactly what is delivered in MARRIED TO THE MOB. A contrast to the hard-as-nails mafia movies that came out years before, this movie is one you can sit back and have a few laughs at.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

The Fun City edition of Married To The Mob is available through Radiance Films and comes with a host of special features.

Audio Commentary with Millie De Chirico and Danielle Henderson

The co-hosts of the ‘I Saw What You Did’ podcast present this relaxed, collaborative commentary for Married To The Mob. It’s not totally continuous, there are a few pauses between speaking which make the commentary feel a bit uneven at times, especially as the audio of the film itself is completely muted so there’s nothing to audibly fill the gap. However, the duo do have some great insights to give on aspects of the movie and the cast and crew who worked on the film. A fun, casual commentary by two fans of the movie.

Writing Married To The Mob (32 min 10 secs)

In this new interview, the film’s writers Barry Strugatz and Mark Burns discuss their script writing origins and their separate careers in film outside of writing, before talking about how they came to write Married To The Mob. An interesting interview that gives an insight into their processes and approach.

It Barreled Into My Life (28 mins 53 secs)

A new interview with Mercedes Ruehl who plays Tony’s wife Connie Russo in Married To The Mob. A very honest interview from Ruehl, who talks about her nervousness and fears when auditioning for the film with it being her first big role. She discusses her experience working with director Jonathan Demme and tells stories about her time on set, including discovering the character of Connie with the costume and make-up department. A wonderful interview with such a fascinating actress. It may have been her first big role but in my eyes she screamed experienced in her performance. A terrific actress.

A Simple Enjoyment Of Life (21 mins 43 secs)

A new interview with Matthew Modine who plays FBI agent Mike Downey in Married To The Mob. Modine gives an enthusiastic insight into his experience working on the film, from doing his own stunts a la Buster Keaton, to working with the Michelle Pfeiffer on set. Like Ruehl’s interview, Modine appears happy to share and reminisce about his time on the movie, and gives some great insight into shoot.

Theatrical Trailer (2 min 09 secs)

Image Gallery (4 mins 43 secs)

A video slideshow of stills and promotional shots from Married To The Mob.

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About Bat 4431 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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