Who's Harry Crumb? - Movie Review


Who's Harry Crumb? - Movie Review

Who's Harry Crumb? Movie Review 4.5/10

It doesn't matter how ridiculous a movie may seem, if one of your favorite actor's is in it, at least in the case of this reviewer, that movie will generally get a recommendation to watch. Who's Harry Crumb? is one of those movies. John Candy plays Harry Crumb, an inept detective who is brought in by his boss Eliot(Jeffrey Jones) to investigate a kidnapping of a fashion model, Jennifer Downing (Renee Coleman) the daughter of millionaire P.J. Downing (Barry Corbin). To make himself look good, Eliot, promises P.J. that Harry is a descendant of the agency's founder and a fine detective. The truth of it is a whole other story. Harry is an incompetent and clumsy detective that relies more on luck than skill to solve his cases.

Harry enlists P.J.'s other daughter Nikki (Shawnee Smith) to help him out with finding Jennifer. Nikki thinks that her father's wife (Annie Potts) is behind the kidnapping, but she's really just a gold digger that's two-timing P.J. with a tennis coach played by Tim Thomerson. Harry is also convinced that Helen is behind the kidnappings as well and tries to tie her to the crime, but there is one problem, she didn't kidnap her own step-daughter.

Harry doesn't really know who kidnapped Jennifer. He pins the whole thing on Helen without having any evidence and continually becomes a thorn in the side of Eliot because of his bumbling, inept ways of investigating this kidnapping. The reason Harry was brought in to work this case is that he is the worst at his job, but he's a part of the agency because of his legacy. Jeffrey Jones (Eliot), the head of the agency is behind the kidnapping. As is always the case, it's about money. Eliot also wants Helen, but she's only interested in money.

Is this a good movie? Not by a long shot. It's another John Candy movie that this reviewer happens to think is comfort food for the brain. Mostly because of Shawnee Smith, because she's hot and partly because it's a John Candy movie that's just stupid and funny. There is no moral to the story, it's not a drama, it's not an action movie, it's a comedy written purely to be (or try to be) funny.The problem with Who's Harry Crumb is that we know relatively little of Barry Corbin's character P.J. He's a millionaire, he's on his second marriage to a gold digger and he has two daughters. We know little about Eliot or Helen or any of the characters except Harry. That's fine, to a point, but kidnapping for ransom to go to Buenos Aires, for some reason?

 It's a poorly written plot in the film that seems to be written around the scenes of John Candy's character. This isn't a thinking man's movie. It's an 80's movie that was made to ride on the coattails of John Candy's rising star. The problem is that this, like Armed and Dangerous, felt like they were rushed into  production to take advantage of John Candy's star power and they suffer from it. Especially this movie.

Some of the funniest parts of this movie are when Harry takes P.J.'s car for a ride, not knowing that the breaks have been cut, Harry sliding down a window to end up on a ceiling fan where a little kid thinks it's hilarious to turn the fan up to "Full" and watch Harry spin around until he can't walk and the interactions between Annie Potts and Tim Thomerson as they plot to steal P.J's money. Thomerson's character is just as inept and stupid as Jeffery Jones and John Candy's character, Which is a good balance between the actual smart people Nikki, her dad P.J. and the gold digger played by Annie Potts.

In the end, this movie is one of those Friday night escape movies, where you can turn off your brain and put this movie on and just enjoy it for what it is. Also, Shawnee Smith. She's hot.


Who's Harry Crumb? (1989)
PG-13 | 1h 34min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 3 February 1989 (USA)

Harry Crumb is a bumbling and inept private investigator who is hired to solve the kidnapping of a young heiress which he's not expected to solve because his employer is the mastermind behind the kidnapping.
Director: Paul Flaherty
Writers: Robert Conte, Peter Wortmann (as Peter Martin Wortmann)
Stars: John Candy, Jeffrey Jones, Annie Potts, Barry Corbin, Shawnee Smith