It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
I've just about decided there is no such thing as a madcap comedy.
Tragedy can be random; slices of life don't have to make a lot of sense, but comedy requires discipline. Unless a comedy is about something, unless it establishes ground rules, there's no way to violate those rules to get laughs. People running around acting "funny" look unhappy and awkward and uncertain.
And that's exactly what they look like in William Friedkin's "Deal of the Century," a movie that depends on inspiration when it should have depended on a script. The movie has funny people in it: Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines and Wally Shawn ("My Dinner With Andre") in a small role. But the movie seems to think their behavior alone will carry them through.
The film stars Chase and Hines as a couple of second-rate, quasi-legal arms dealers who will go anywhere and talk to anybody to sell their Army surplus merchandise. As the movie opens, for example, it's Christmas Eve, and Chase is in Central America demonstrating a new anti-tank weapon by firing out his hotel window at police cars in the village square. This is a promising scene, but it turns out to be like a lot of the other scenes in the movie: a setup for a punch line that leads nowhere.