Picks and Pans Review: Married to the Mob

updated 08/22/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/22/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

In this whoopee farce, Michelle Pfeiffer—the spellbinding blond from Scarface—proves she has talent to rival her looks. With teased dark hair, a tarty wardrobe and a tawk-like-dis accent, she's almost unrecognizable as Mafia wife Angela DeMarco. The role seems to free her; she's witty, touching, sumptuously sexy and flat-out wonderful. Angela's had it with her mob-financed good life on Long Island. Sure, her husband (Alec Baldwin) comes home after a hard day as a hit man. But the sap keeps guns around the house within their young son's reach and dallies with the girlie of his gangland boss, potently caricatured by Dean Stockwell. When the latter indiscretion gets Baldwin bumped off, Angela grabs her kid and runs. She moves to a dump on the Lower East Side and tries to live straight, Happy ending? Don't rush it. Angela falls for a sweet handyman, played by Matthew (Full Metal Jacket) Mo-dine, only to learn that he's an FBI agent. She's also stalked by Stockwell's jealous wife, the riotously funny Mercedes Ruehl. The plot—part Prizzi's Honor, part Notorious, part Three Stooges—boils over in Miami, where the FBI uses Pfeiffer as bait to nab Stockwell. Director Jonathan Demme expertly juggles gags without neglecting character. Demme's best films (Melvin and Howard, Handle with Care, Something Wild) all show a sympathy for dislocated misfits. You root for Pfeiffer and Mo-dine to connect. High-spirited and hilarious, Mob supplies that special kick you get from movie comedy when laughter bubbles over into bliss. (R)

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