Mafia! (aka Jane Austen’s Mafia!)

Dir: Jim Abrahams, 1998


It’s fair to say, that the filmmaking trio of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker, or ZAZ as they are known collectively, have not been as commercially or critically successful solo as when they work together.

With the exception of Hot Shots! and Hot Shots! Part Deux, the majority of their output have met with mixed or negative reviews. David Zucker’s Scary Movie 3 and it’s following sequels, were treated with disdain by critics, carrying an over-inflated ego and a pretentious attitude.

Spoof movies are not clever, nor are they meant to be. They serve one primary purpose and that is to make you laugh. And this successfully achieves its aim.

Primarily a parody of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather and Martin Scorsese’s Casino, Abrahams targets (then) current affairs and pop culture, integrating it all into a joyous mass of comedy and delight.

The humour is very lowbrow, but when did any of the guys who created The Kentucky Fried Movie and Airplane! ever do sophisticated comedy? A scene involving an erect penis perfectly shows how Abrahams’ vocabulary lacks the word subtle.

A favourite of the guys, Lloyd Bridges is once again employed to play against type as the Don of the crime family. Like another favourite of ZAZ, Leslie Nielsen, Bridges showed a penchant for comedy that hadn’t been tapped into before. Airplane! brilliantly allowed the audience to see the veteran actor in a new light, and give his career a second wind.

Superb at bringing to life characters two sandwiches short of a picnic, Bridges is a riot, here, out performing the cast and firmly cementing himself as the star of the film.

The rest of the troupe are, pretty much, inapposite, but that’s unimportant as the it’s the jokes that matter and we remember them well.

There’s no denying that the ternion work better as one entity, and Mafia! isn’t quite as uproarious as Hot Shots!, but don’t let that stop you from seeing this.

A wonderfully funny and stupid movie, that will keep you entertained throughout its runtime.


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