Mad Dog and Glory (***)

(1993) John McNaughton – Uma Thurman, Bill Murray, Robert DeNiro, et al.

Synopsis: A mediocre crime-scene photographer—the eponymous Mad Dog, played by DeNiro— stumbles across a robbery-in-progress at a convenience store, managing to save the life of a mob boss Frank Milo (that would be Bill Murray). At the behest of his therapist, Frank makes an effort to thank Mad Dog, providing him with one week of “friendship” from, yep, Glory (Uma Thurman). From this plot nexus, the rest of the movie flows forth.

Review: This could have been great. The plot itself isn’t exactly inspired, but the casting is: it was a stroke of genius (could have been, anyway) to cast DeNiro as the bumbling cop and Murray as the cold-hearted, yet wryly funny, mob boss. Uma and Bill both do a bang-up job in their roles, despite their characters’ weaknesses. Robert, surprisingly, does merely okay. Unfortunately, the movie as a whole does not fare so well. Generally speaking, this movie does have its moments of offbeat humor, yes. It takes a stab at poignancy a couple times, mostly missing the mark. It’s fun, but certainly not outstanding. Though the pacing of the movie is a bit awkward—there’s nothing to really drive the movie forward, and the relationship between Glory and Mad Dog doesn’t “develop” so much as flop around depending on what the plot requires—it’s not particularly slow or drawn out. It simply is. The ending left me with a bad taste in my mouth, mostly for the way the characters’ convictions actual desires—insofar as they are established by the movie’s plot—are casually molded out of convenience. “Mad Dog and Glory” is slightly better than mediocre, but not spectacular.

Rating: [•••] out of [•••••]