Quick Change

Bill Murray dresses up as a clown to take hostages and rob a New York bank. Funny? Guess again. As star, coproducer and codirector (with screenwriter Howard Franklin), Murray must take a good chunk of the blame for the funereal pace of this caper comedy. I can usually find something good about Murray in anything, even Ghostbusters II, but I know when I'm licked.

Murray walks through this turkey looking benumbed. The bank heist drags on while Murray plays games with the cops, headed by Jason Robards. He plays games with the audience too. We're supposed to be surprised when two of the hostages — portrayed by Geena Davis in a blond wig and Randy Quaid in a fake beard — turn out to be his accomplices.

Makeup and costumes off, the trio heads for the airport for a getaway. End of movie? Nah, it's just beginning. On the way to the airport, the robbers encounter a non-English-speaking cabbie, a crabby bus driver with an exact-change fixation, angry mobsters, bumbling cops and just about every other caper-movie staple. I haven't read the Jay Cronley novel on which the film is based, but I trust the humor is a notch above such lines as "Up your butt with a coconut." Derivative and blindingly dull, Quick Change is an occasion for a quick nap.

From The Archives Issue 170: September 26, 1974