Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: My Blue Heaven

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, July 11, 1999

I’m with you.

Vincent Antonelli (Steve Martin) is sent to a tiny community outside of San Diego as part of the Federal Witness Protection Program. Barney Coopersmith (Rick Moranis) is assigned to protect him. But he just can’t live the old ways down.

RecommendationPossible Rental
DirectorHerbert Ross
WriterNora Ephron
Movie Rating5
Transfer Quality7
Overall Rating4
  • Letterbox

This is an okay movie, but not something to rush out to buy or rent. If you have the chance, see it. If not, don’t sweat it. Both Martin and Moranis have been in much better, funnier movies. (On the other hand, the DVD is cheap enough. If you’re a huge fan of Martin or Moranis, you might want to pick it up just to have it. Amazon had it at $10.50 last I checked.)

The story starts with Agent Barney Coopersmith (Moranis) dropping mobster Vincent Antonelli and Vincent’s wife off at his new house in the middle of nowhere, just outside of San Diego. The whole thing is way too normal for his wife to stand, so she leaves him immediately. Barney goes back to work in San Diego, where his wife leaves him for a washed-up young ballplayer.

The next time Barney and Vinnie see each other is when Vinnie is picked up for grand theft auto, and Barney takes Vinnie away from District Attorney Hannah Stubbs (Joan Cusack). And everyone lives happily ever after, with a few bumps along the way. The movie is really about Barney and Hannah. Although you see a lot of Vinnie, he’s fairly one dimensional.

While there will always be more than you know is going to happen than you get surprised about in a movie like this, some things in the movie are just a bit too predictable. Everything Agent Coopersmith gets involved in afterwards ends up leading back to Vinnie. First he and fellow agent Kirby (Bill Irwin) try to do a little undercover on the side and Kirby sells Vinnie some hot credit cards. Then Barney, Kirby, and their boss (Ed Lauter) go undercover to catch some major fences. Vinnie gets wind that there is a major buyer of stolen goods in the area and lets District Attorney Stubbs know. I’m not giving away any spoilers on this: it is plain from the movie that this is going to happen. (Actually, those of you who know anything about the witness protection program might get confused: the program in reality is run by the federal marshals, not by the FBI as in the movie.)

Good scenes include any scene involving Marengi dancing. They call it merengue in the scene selection part of the menu. Probably correct but it sounds a lot like what you put on pies. (I guess I’m just an unrepentant nerd, the local bars advertise it as merengue also.) Barney and Hannah’s relationship is handled quite well also, although I wonder what’s going to happen when he runs out of Vinnie-inspired romantic things to do. It is a basically funny film. There is nothing particularly special about the movie beyond that.

The DVD has no extras. It does allow you to watch it in English and French (what, no Italian?); there are no subtitles, not even close-captioned.

Recommendation: Possible Rental

DirectorHerbert Ross
WriterNora Ephron
ActorsSteve Martin, Rick Moranis, Joan Cusack
Spoken languagesEnglish, French
More links

If you enjoyed My Blue Heaven…

For more about Rick Moranis, you might also be interested in Ghostbusters.

For more about Steve Martin, you might also be interested in L.A. Story and The Spanish Prisoner.