Saturday, November 21, 2015

I Wonder Who’s Killing Her Now? (1975)

A dreadful attempt at black comedy in which nearly every joke falls flat, and in which nearly every characterization is predicated upon some irritatingly stupid contrivance or stereotype, I Wonder Who’s Killing Her Now? was apparently prepared as a starring vehicle for British funnyman Peter Sellers, but it’s not as if the presence of replacement star Bob Dishy is the problem. A reliable comedic player in films, plays, and television who thrived in supporting roles (as subtlety was never his forte), Dishy does everything he can to enliven old-fashioned gags powered by idiotic non sequiturs and laborious wordplay. Dishy plays Jordan Oliver, a cheerfully corrupt businessman who gets fired from his father-in-law’s company for embezzlement. The same day, his wife says she wants a divorce, adding that she plans to leave Jordan with nothing. Jordan responds by taking out a $1 million insurance policy on his wife and conspiring to kill her, which leads to the movie’s main farcical notion—after Jordan hires a hit man, the assassin subcontracts the work, the subcontractor hires someone else, and so on. So when Jordan learns that his insurance policy has been cancelled, he must track down all of the weirdos who have inherited the contract on Jordan’s wife in order to prevent the murder. Although director Steven Hilliard Stern films I Wonder Who’s Killing Her Now? with his usual polished style, the script is abysmal. (Sample routine: “He practices brain surgery—it affects the brain.” “How can brain surgery affect the brain?” “He practices on his own brain.”) At one point late in this tedious movie, the filmmakers become so desperate to generate gags that they accidentally enter the realm of surrealism. When three characters in enormous fat suits sneak into a weight-loss clinic, they encounter a screaming-queen doctor wearing Kabuki makeup and speaking in a Bela Lugosi accent, who’s assisted by a man cross-dressing in a nurse’s costume. Huh? Adding to the movie’s sins, terrific character actors Severn Darden and Richard Libertini, each of whom plays multiple roles, are utterly wasted.

I Wonder Who’s Killing Her Now?: LAME

1 comment:

Booksteve said...

I wanted to see this for nearly 4 decades and it really wasn't worth the wait. It never played around here but I saw an ad for it in an out of town paper wen it first came out. Over the years, I had become a big fan of Darden and Libertini and had always enjoyed Dishy and Dana. Finally caught it about two years back. UGH!