If you’re ever stuck for something to do on a sleepy Sunday afternoon or if you’re miserable as sin, there’s only one thing for it. Lollop on the sofa and watch a comedy to lighten your spirits. “Comedy nowadays just isn’t that funny,” you lament. What if I told you that there is an unsung 80’s classic just waiting to be discovered? What if I told you it stars Tom Hanks, the baddie from Die Hard and is produced (sort of) by none other than Steven Spielberg? No, I’m not telling porkie pies this really does exist!
The Money Pit (1986) follows the trials and tribulations of Walter (Hanks) and Anna (Shelley Long), a young couple living in Anna’s ex husband, Max’s (Alexander Godunov) plush apartment. When Max returns unexpectedly, Walter and Anna need to find somewhere to live at short notice in the middle of New York with little money, yikes. Luckily, a large house is being sold at a dramatically reduced price and they snap it up. The house of their dreams soon turns into the house of their nightmares, the bills are stacking up and they are falling into the money pit.
This epic comedy tells a tale that everyone can relate to in some way or another, when property renovations go wrong. If you have ever tried to assemble Ikea furniture then you know how stressful simple D.I.Y can be. The brilliant thing about The Money Pit and so many other 80’s laugh riots is that it didn’t gain much critical acclaim and has fallen under the radar. It doesn’t make any sense how this hilarious and heart wrenching comment on relationships and renovations hasn’t got its own appreciation day.
As you watch the inexperienced couple begin this restoration there is admiration for their positive attitude, but as the walls start to crumble so does their outlook. From the doorbell to the water pipes, the house is rotting from the ground up with some side-splitting results. Whether it be electrocution or a falling bath tub, Hanks steals the show with his maintenance faux pas. From Long’s cool and collected approach to Hank’s cynical and sarcastic view on things, the whole premise of this caper stinks of brilliant fun.
Godunov is also an unexpected gem, best known for his role in Die Hard and eternally typecast as a villain; his take on the eccentric, self obsessed composer Max is brilliant. Not only does this film make you laugh, it also tugs on your heart strings in classic Spielberg fashion, it’s no wonder he was involved in the production. Throw in a cheesy power ballad and there you have it! From cowboy contractors to unstable stairs everything that could possibly go wrong does, if a smirk doesn’t creep across your lips while watching The Money Pit then you need a sense of humour bypass – stat.
Dir: Richard Benjamin
Scr: David Giler
Cast: Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Philip Bosco, Alexander Godunov
Prd: Kathleen Kennedy, Art Levinson, Frank Marshall
DOP: Gordon Willis
Music: Michael Colombier
Run time: 90 minutes