There's a very funny scene in 'Married to the Mob,' in which Angela DeMarco, she of the tight pants and ultra-tressed hair, screams at her gangster husband, Tony the Cucumber, 'Everything we have fell off a truck.'
But Angela, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, is about the only one in the Long Island mob family in which she's married that seems to be unhappy with what blood money can buy. When she puts her spiked heel down and announces she wants a divorce, her husband, played by Alec Baldwin, just laughs.
She does leave -- after her husband is bumped off for romancing the mistress of Tony 'the Tiger' Russo, played to the hilt by Dean Stockwell -- and her odyssey into the working world is the premise for this punk gangster movie.
But 'Married to the Mob' acts too smart to be really funny. It's full of wild setups that fall flat because they are being played as a joke, rather than for laughs. These mobsters, their screechy wives and bumbling FBI agents are just plain stupid because they seem so totally out of context, almost frozen in an overblown world of kitsche. Director Jonathan Demme ('Melvin and Howard,' 'Stop Making Sense,' 'Swimming to Cambodia') gives us no contrast to put them into perspective, so we can see how truly funny they are. 'Married to the Mob' is such a celebration of garishness it turns into a big ugly headache.
Good actors don't seem to help, mostly because Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine, playing an over-eager FBI agent trailing Angela to gather evidence on her husband's killer, seem to be working at cross purposes.
If Angela were ditzier, we could laugh at her attempts to be normal. Instead, she is overwrought and whining. Modine, whose past credits have included such hits as 'Birdy,' and 'Full Metal Jacket,' is seriously miscast in this comic role as a punk zealot. He breezes through each scene as if he's making it all up as he goes along.
The only actor who seems genuinely comfortable with his role is Dean Stockwell, the veteran actor playing mob boss Tony Russo. Dressed up in his big white coat and white hat, the leering, ruthless mob boss is both sinister and wildly silly. Stockwell never misses a beat, and is pure pleasure to watch in this wacky role.
'Married to the Mob' is full of promise, but goes nowhere, apparently satisfied enough with being avant-garde and hip.
This movie is rated R. Movie contains some violent scenes and foul language.