Director: Tom DiCillo
Former Jim Jarmusch cinematographer turned writer/director Tom DiCillo made a huge independent film splash with his Sundance favorite Living in Oblivion in the early 1990’s. Several years later he still proves a penchant for crafting larger than life satirical comedy capers such as this one which stars comedian Denis Leary as New York Police Detective Ray Pluto, who, after the tragic loss of his wife and daughter in a hit and run years earlier spends most of his weeknights getting stoned while watching cheerleader exercise videos. When the film opens, he and police partner Jerry (DiCillo regular Steve Buscemi) debate over which one should go into a fast food place to order lunch with Jerry citing his bum knee as his reason to wait. Suddenly a crazed shooter kills six people in broad daylight and while trying to intervene, Pluto suffers an extreme back spasm, accidentally knocks himself out cold and his gun slides across the floor where it’s picked up by a child who uses it to take out the murderer. After the press dubs him “Loser Cop,” Pluto is assigned light duty with a majority of his cases being given to chief’s pet Chris Noth, while he reluctantly tries to overcome his chiropractor prejudice and eventually breaks down to see gorgeous chiropractor Elizabeth Hurley who not only manages to help cure his back pain but captures Pluto’s heart as well. Colorful and fast paced—Double Whammy seems like a live action cartoon that borders on the ridiculous at times with the introduction of far too many quirky characters and some whom we as an audience never warm up to such as two aspiring screenwriters who wear brightly colored suits and plan their seemingly Tarantino-inspired screenplay and dream about a Cannes victory and the annoying daughter of building super Luis Guzman who hires some thugs to get her father when he refuses to grant her permission to be tattooed. Still, DiCillo’s film is fresh and funny with enough good material to keep us watching and one that does successfully blend hip dialogue and crime comedy together in this now overly popular independent film subgenre.