Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Alec Baldwin, Dean Stockwell
Director: Jonathan Demme
Running Time: 104 mins
Married To The Mob is an American film about the wife of a gangster who, after the murder of her husband, decides she has had enough of life around the mafia and sets about restarting things.
While it has a strong cast and a good director on board, I really wasn’t all that enamoured by Married To The Mob. While a crime-comedy in name, the movie is actually more of a selection of comedic scenes spliced into a slightly more serious mobster movie that. As a result, the difference in atmosphere is painfully jarring, making for a frustratingly inconsistent watch throughout.
Let’s start on the bright side, though, with the performances, which are by far the most enjoyable part of the film as a whole. While I can’t say that this movie ever really managed to make me laugh, the lead performance by Michelle Pfeiffer is very entertaining, as she combines a sweeter, more vulnerable element to her character with the more strong-willed and powerful side, something that makes her both extremely likable as well as entertaining to watch throughout.
If there’s one thing that the movie does do well to blend crime and comedy, it’s to show the typical gangster formula play out from a different perspective. So, rather than seeing everything from the mob boss’ perspective, we follow the wife of one of his employees, and how she becomes involved in all of the dealings of the mafia, but without that innate criminal instinct.
As such, there are times when the plot takes some unique directions, and following Pfeiffer’s character as she tries desperately to get away from the mafia, despite the fact that it really won’t let her go, is both enjoyable and at times surprisingly exciting and tense, particularly when we see the clash between herself and Dean Stockwell, who plays the boss of her murdered husband.
In that, there is some good enjoyment to be had from this movie, although I will say that it doesn’t quite have the ingenuity or depth to really keep you engrossed right the way through.
As I said, the biggest problem by far is the jarring contrast between the lighter comedy and the more serious crime stuff. Now, this isn’t a completely farcical movie, but it is still there to make you laugh, and I really found that hard, because scenes jump so frequently from a bit of light farce to something that wouldn’t look out of place in a normal gangster movie.
Furthermore, the movie doesn’t do enough to make its more serious side all that engrossing. While the tension between Pfeiffer and Stockwell is there, there’s little else to really find enthralling. Unfortunately, the screenplay really misses a trick in the opening act as we see the murder of the woman’s husband, immediately revealing who did it, rather than leaning you as a viewer towards the culprit, and as such introducing some good tension and suspicion into the story beyond what’s there.
Overall, I found myself rather frustrated by Married To The Mob, partly because of a painfully jarring atmosphere that generally fails to blend humour with the crime story at hand, but also due to a screenplay that’s not all that interesting, nor particularly funny. The lead performance from Michelle Pfeiffer is excellent, however, and her likability is what carries the movie right the way through, and that’s why I’m giving this a 6.8.