American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
In a movie called "Big Deal on Madonna Street," a gang of crooks was trying to break through a wall into a bank building. They rigged up a system that was going to penetrate the wall, and braced it against another wall, and of course it was the other wall that collapsed. Their surprise when that happened was one of the biggest laughs in the movie.
However, if the entire movie had consisted of the same gag, repeated over and over again, with the gadget breaking through the wrong wall a dozen times, I think the original laughter eventually would have collapsed into quiet desperation. That is what happens with "The Money Pit," a movie that contains one funny scene and 91 minutes of running time to kill.
The movie stars Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as a couple who need to find a house in a hurry. They have been living in the Manhattan apartment of her former husband (Alexander Godunov), but now he throws them out and they take the only place they can find - a country estate at a suspiciously low price. Sure, it needs a little work. All older houses need a little work. But Hanks begins to suspect something is seriously wrong when he slams the front door and it falls off its hinges.
Ha, ha. In the course of this movie, we also will see a staircase collapse, a bathtub fall through the floor, and several walls reduced to piles of rubble. That's before the craftsmen arrive to repair the building. They have a standard answer to how long everything will take: "Two weeks," they say, snickering up their sleeves. They demand cash advances and then drive off in their Cadillacs and Porsches, maybe never to be seen again.