Directed by: Martin Brest
Starring: Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina
One of the better—yet probably least remembered—action comedies of the 1980s, Midnight Run (1988) is notable more for the chemistry of its two stars than for its actual script or Martin Brest’s so-so direction. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Quite a few films are worthwhile for the performance of one star; this boasts two. Robert De Niro plays a man who specializes in tracking down and returning bail jumpers to bondsmen. Charles Grodin plays his quarry—an accountant who embezzled millions of dollars from the mob. This, of course, means that the mob is out to kill Grodin (and by extension De Niro), while the feds are out to capture him/them. You can pretty much figure out the film from there. Yep, it involves “odd-couple” bonding with thrills. You’ve seen it lots of times, but it’s the sort of thing that works entirely based on the level of the couple doing the bonding. In this case, De Niro and Grodin make it work.
Giving them respectable adversaries helps—Yaphet Kotto represents the FBI, Dennis Farina represents the mob—but really the movie belongs to the stars, and its pleasures come from their feuding with each other. They’re natural enemies, who, over the course of the film, come to realize they have more in common with each other than not. By no means is this a great movie, but it’s still a fun one. As an aside, the end credit music by Danny Elfman is actually a song called “Try to Believe” that for whatever reason ended up minus its vocal on the film, but ended up on Elfman’s penultimate Oingo Boingo album.
Midnight Run is the second of four comedies being presented by Bold Life movie reviewer Marcianne Miller in Lord Auditorium at Pack Memorial Library. It will screen at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 25.