Getting Away with Murder (1996) Poster

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Underrated fun
joe-36324 August 1999
Maybe it's just because I like Dan Aykroyd: I have never seen a movie with him that I did not enjoy. I decided to put in a few lines of appreciation for this one, considering the bad reviews read here. It certainly is not the ultimate masterpiece of comedy but I found it thoroughly enjoyable, and despite the fact that I was very tired it kept watching it until 2am.
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Often funny, with enthusiastic performances, but overall bland comedy
mattymatt4ever4 January 2002
I got quite a lot of chuckles out of this movie. But does that make it a really good flick? Not necessarily. It's better than most people say it is (well, the few people who've seen it). Hell, I figured "Jack Lemmon's in the cast. How bad can this movie be?" Dan Aykroyd's career definitely isn't as successful as it was in the seventies--his SNL days. I still think he's very talented, but like Chevy Chase he's starting to fall into that ditch with other has-been SNL alumni of the seventies. Lily Tomlin is another veteran comic, but let's face it--what was the last big movie she was in? I love Dan and Lily, but they're two people who wouldn't surprise me if they were to do a bad movie, despite their talents.

But actually, this isn't a bad movie at all. People may criticize the subject matter involving Nazi Genocide, but I'm flexible when it comes to comedy. I have a pretty dark sense of humor myself, and I don't mind dark humor at all and believe that almost anything can be made funny if handled in the right manner. "All in the Family" is one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, and the show constantly dealt with the subject of racism.

There are a good deal of funny moments, though worthy of chuckles and not laughs. But the movie just lacks a certain energy. I can't point out exactly what could've been done better, but the film just has a bland feeling to it. It needed more bite.

The acting is great, though. Aykroyd gives an enthusiastic performance. Lemmon performs the same way he would in any of his Oscar-winning films. And Tomlin is impressive as well, in a role that requires her to be somewhat dramatic and not the goofball she usually plays. So basically, what we have is a first-rate cast in a second-rate movie.

As I said, not a bad movie--just needed more bite.

My score: 6 (out of 10)
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Interestingly ambiguous.
gridoon16 September 2001
This is a rather mild and forgettable comedy, but I think it deserves a **1/2 rating, if only because it dares to deal with some ambiguous subjects (like vigilantism) without become overly moralizing. The viewer is allowed to think (or not think, if he does not wish to) for himself. It's not a funny movie, I'll grant you that, and Jack Lemmon is thoroughly wasted, but it's an interesting one nonetheless.
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I'm embarrassed.
Ankhoryt13 June 2006
Penny Marshall produced this?

Harvey Miller, who wrote "Private Benjamin," wrote this?

Lemmon, Aykroyd, Hunt, and the incomparable LILY TOMLIN agreed to work on it?

Tasteless, unfunny, painful to watch.

Whatever moral point they were trying to make, and whatever humor they were trying to achieve, this film just... just hurt. Hurt my eyes, and hurt the reputations of all involved.

I'm embarrassed for all involved, and chagrined that I felt I had to watch to the end, to justify writing a review to warn others. Fifteen minutes would have been more than enough.
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There's a good, twisted comedy in here somewhere...cast looks perplexed at how to find the right tone
moonspinner5524 September 2016
Dan Ayrkoyd, looking boxy and well-scrubbed, plays a college professor in Massachusetts who is caught up in the media frenzy surrounding elderly German neighbor Jack Lemmon, who has been accused of being a notorious Nazi war criminal living under an assumed identity; when Lemmon tells Aykroyd he intends to leave the country in protest, Aykroyd plots to poison him as a form of historical justice. Writer-director Harvey Miller probably intended this dark-hued comedy to be a twisted hoot, in the "Eating Raoul" vein. He apparently gained the trust of his talented performers--and comedy vet Penny Marshall was swayed enough to co-produce--but something must have gotten lost in the translation from screenplay to film, because there are hardly any laughs in this scenario. The cast plays it poker-faced...perhaps they weren't sure just how over-the-top the presentation should be. Results are curiously lukewarm, and full of dumb jokes like one involving Lemmon's dog being attracted to Aykroyd's crotch--which Miller then repeats, as a TV director might. *1/2 from ****
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JDono3 March 2002
Picked this up at Hollywood Video for four obvious reasons: Aykroyd, Tomlin, Lemmon, and the always lovely Bonnie Hunt. But holy cow, what a waste of talent. Lemmon is given nothing to do, Hunt's role is superfluous, and Tomlin's role isn't funny. Aykroyd is in virtually every scene, but since the writers didn't bother coming up with anything funny for him, he becomes tiresome after about fifteen minutes.

I have no idea why this movie was made.
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I don't see why it got such a bad rap.
ClioCJS8 January 2000
I'm only reviewing this because of all the bad reviews. I gave it a 7 though I may change it to a 6 later. I really don't see why people had such a major problem with this movie. It was fun. "You call this justice?!?!?!"

Basically, don't go into the movie expecting some crazy comedy with an intricate plot line. This movie is just a light-hearted movie to have a few laughs though; no masterpiece, but certainly not a 3.4 either. (That's what it was rated when I wrote this review.)
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Worst movie since...well, ever!
FCDramaGirl21 January 2004
I bought this movie for one reason and one reason only, Bonnie Hunt. I can not believe she sank so low! Her character is the only good thing about this film, and I hate to say it, her character isn't that great! This movie was the worst thing I had ever seen! Usually Lilly Tomlin is funny, she wasn't. and I was so suprised at Jack Lemmon's character too. Why did you people make this movie? WHY?!?!?!

This Movie will forever sit on my shelf never to be watched again!
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It´s not soo bad
janus4 December 1998
I found this movie not as bad as everybody says it is. I think its pretty entertaining. I really liked the plot of the film.
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Endless fun
blindstalkerwxc4 January 2010
A true comedy if i've ever seen one is this picture. IT vill warm your hearth with warmth and joy. After seeing it 10 times it never gets bored, which is amazing to say the least.

Jack lemmon the bitter old sour lemmon that he is, was offcourse perfectly cast as the nazi-loving teacher.

The rest of the cast could easily been awarded with an award of some sorts. Maybe a golden trash can or something.

In case you were wondering : watching this crap will make your eyes bleed.

Have a nice day
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The Name Says It All - It Was Murder
brianoh226 February 2008
The best thing that I can say about this movie is that I did not turn it off. I would have to add however that I was tempted to many times. This was potentially a funny movie, but it just didn't quite make it. Perhaps the continual narrative by Ackroyd did not help. The standard of acting was reasonable. The standard of direction was reasonable. The story was reasonable and had the potential of making a good movie. The 91 minutes of run time seemed more like 180 minutes. The movie was too drawn out and the comedy was too little and not funny enough. Of all the actors, I thought that Lily Tomlin gave the best performance. Ackroyd was OK, but as his was the main role, it was going to take more than OK to make the movie good. Jack Lemmon was unimpressive and his accent unconvincing. I gave it 5 from 10, and that was probably being generous.
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Jack Lambert
CitizenWolfieSmith16 April 2003
I strongly disagree that people say this film is rubbish because it is my favourite film. Dan Aykroyd plays a great role in Getting Away With Murder. All through the film we are unsure what is coming next. If you like serious films this is a film for you. In my views it gets 10 out of 10.
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Great comedy
nko_12330 December 2006
I did DVD of this only because it cost 1 EUR. I didn't expect nothing, but I got great comedy.

The plot is very good and not seen often. Dan Aykroyd is a narrator too, but doesn't make so good performance than we have used to. Jack Lemmon is too old or he act's too old. In Grumpy Old Men few ears ago he was still in shape.

This is good written feel good comedy. Harvey Miller isn't great director but he makes decent job.

I'll give 8 of 10 because it's entertaining, good written and easy to watch again.
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Avoid it if you can.
Tonye7 August 1998
This is one of the worst movies I´ve ever seen. Avoid it if you can.
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Boringly mediocre attempt at `comedy'
bob the moo4 August 2002
Professor Lambert lectures on ethics and morals at a local University and lives alone in a quiet suburban area. However when his neighbour, is accused of war crimes as a Nazi he isn't sure what to think. When he is told that Mueller is about to leave for Ecuador, where he will be free to live out his life without extradition he cannot morally accept it and decides to take action by murdering him. However Lambert's ethics and need for justice soon cause the whole plan to crumble in a moral mess.

I'd never heard of this film when I watched it but Dan Aykroyd is usually an OK bet – even if he's not as funny as Bill Murray often manages. However after watching this I understand why I hadn't heard of it. The plot is OK at the start but the moral reasoning that drives much of the latter stages doesn't ring true and it feels like the film is just trying to muddle through to a very unsatisfactory ending that also feels like they weren't sure how it should end so they just stopped!

As a drama it doesn't work at all, sadly as a comedy it has no laughs at all. Not a smile, I assumed it was a bad drama until a glance at the listings told me it was meant to be a comedy! A misguided drama I can understand, but to pitch something so lame as a comedy is beyond justification.

The cast are wasted here. Names like Tomlin, Lemmon, Aykroyd and Adler really need better material than this to show what they can do. Here they do the best they can but they can turn a sow's ear into a purse.

Overall this is a failed comedy and a drama that is failing with every plot step. The end result is a film that is neither funny or dramatic – it is merely mediocre and very dull.
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"You talk too much, think too much"
bkoganbing10 November 2015
The line between comedy and drama is thin and sharp in Getting Away With Murder. This film could easily have been a serious drama about a crisis of conscience.

While watching poor Dan Aykroyd deal with his oh so overdeveloped sense of ethics I was reminded of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Do you remember in that film how at the political convention for statehood how James Stewart left and confessed how his conscience was in agony over the shooting of Liberty Valance. To which John Wayne properly replied, "you talk too much, think too much" and after that heart to heart talk Stewart goes back and starts his political career.

All I could think of was that Ethics professor Aykroyd needed a good conversation with the Duke. He's contacted by the FBI who tells him that the kindly old German neighbor just might be a fugitive Nazi war criminal.

Aykroyd realizes that American due process could leave Lemmon around for years so any man of conscience would just kill this guy. Which he resolves to do. Lemmon does die in this, but more I can't and won't say in this rather whacked out comedy which turns on Aykroyd's exquisite conscience. He so needed John Wayne to tell him he thought too much.

Lily Tomlin brings her own brand of zaniness into the film as Lemmon's daughter. Still Getting Away With Murder will never rank in the most noted of either Jack Lemmon or Dan Aykroyd comedies.

It was asking the audience to think too much.
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Just doesn't work
Wizard-85 December 2010
Despite having a cast that included Dan Aykroyd, Jack Lemmon, Lily Tomlin, and Bonnie Hunt, Savoy Pictures barely released "Getting Away With Murder" to theaters. Watching it, I think I can see why. With the movie centering around someone accused of being a Nazi war criminal - and being a comedy - a more sure hand was needed to make this subject material palatable. As it is, the movie is too soft, when it needed to be more biting, like how the Mel Brooks movie "The Producers" was with its own Nazi material. But there are other problems than just with a wrong tone. Long stretches of the movie go by without any attempts at humor. There are several moments when scenes appear to be missing, though at the same time the movie also feels stretched out when its telling should have been tighter. I admit I kept watching to see how things would be wrapped up, but the movie cops out in this area as well, leading to a final moment that will have you saying, "That's IT?!?" out loud. If you do watch this movie, see if you can figure out why this was given an "R" rating - the movie really feels more like a PG-13 or even a PG movie.
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Comical Movie with Non Mainstream Sense of Humore
Smalltowngod11 July 2005
Dan Akroyd usually isn't very good by himself, but he did a good job on this movie.

It's sardonically funny, and won't make you split your sides laughing, but it is entertaining and provides a good, non-mainstream movie that's more about the line between right and wrong than about getting a laugh, which it does anyway.

The daughter is rather comical in her stoicness and reminds me of what Frau Farbinssina would be if she were less obnoxious.

The older couple later in the movie is hysterical, but are not included enough in the later events. I wanted to see more of them.

The movie as a whole needed more comic relief, since Akroyd himself is not amazingly funny, but he's far from some of the Hollywood idiots running around today doing anything for a cheap laugh. Humor that requires you to think and pay attention.
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