It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Danny DeVito is the right actor to play Larry the Liquidator. He doesn’t have to say that he uses big piles of money to compensate for the lack of love in his life. We know. We can see it in Larry’s eyes, which sparkle when he talks about accumulating other people’s money, but turn into the large, brown eyes of an adoring spaniel whenever he gazes upon Kate Sullivan.
She is the attorney who stands between him and New England Wire & Cable, a second-generation family firm that has fallen on hard times but has no debt and a lot of cash. Larry wants to raid the company, break it up, strip the assets, and sell the profitable divisions. The company’s president, an old-fashioned stalwart named Jorgy and played by Gregory Peck, wants to continue making wire and cable.
The situation is complicated because Miss Sullivan (Penelope Ann Miller) is the daughter of Jorgy’s assistant and companion (played by Piper Laurie). Kate is a foot taller than Larry the Liquidator, is blond, is sleek, is chic, and who knows how to push all of Larry’s buttons. From the moment she walks into his office, determined to defeat him and save the company, he knows he is in love. He also knows he wants to win.
Larry is a smart man. That’s one of his appeals. He is also immensely likable, except when he is trying to strip-mine the family firm. Kate finds him intriguing on first sight, but she wants to defeat him in the struggle for the company, and so Norman Jewison’s “Other People’s Money” turns into a wrestling match between lust and greed. Since these are two of the strongest motivations known to humankind, the movie is very funny and at the same time tremendously interesting.