Brain Donors

( 4 )

Overview

Brain Donors is a game attempt to redo the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera in a contemporary setting. John Turturro plays the "Groucho" character, a shifty lawyer (he's even given a Grouchoesque three-barrelled moniker). Bob Nelson is the "Harpo" counterpart, a puckish handyman. And Mel Smith completes the trio as a Chico-like cabbie. All three conspire to save a failing ballet company on behalf of dowager Nancy Marchand, who does a film-length impersonation of Margaret Dumont. At times, Pat Proft's script ...
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Overview

Brain Donors is a game attempt to redo the Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera in a contemporary setting. John Turturro plays the "Groucho" character, a shifty lawyer (he's even given a Grouchoesque three-barrelled moniker). Bob Nelson is the "Harpo" counterpart, a puckish handyman. And Mel Smith completes the trio as a Chico-like cabbie. All three conspire to save a failing ballet company on behalf of dowager Nancy Marchand, who does a film-length impersonation of Margaret Dumont. At times, Pat Proft's script comes off more like a 3 Stooges short than a Marx Brothers romp, but that's not so bad. What hurts the film is its fluctuating pace, which shifts into neutral just when it should go into hyperdrive. Will Vinton's Claymation opening titles supply some of the film's biggest laughs.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Widescreen version enhanced for 16:9 TVs; Dolby Digital: English 5.1 Surround, English Dolby Surround; English subtitles
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Dan Friedman
The word to best describe Brain Donors is silly. That's the overriding sense one gets from watching this thinly disguised remake of the Marx Brothers classic A Night At the Opera, although silly in itself is not necessarily a bad thing where this film is concerned. It suffers in comparison to its inspiration, but that is more or less a given. John Turturro assumes the Groucho role as Roland T. Flakfizer, the name itself another Marxian homage to Duck Soup's Rufus T. Firefly, and seems to be having a good time with the role. Bob Nelson plays the physical comedy Harpo role with some degree of success, but proves he's much funnier as a standup comic than as an actor. British comedian Mel Smith rounds out the trio as the scalawag Chico character, and Nancy Marchand stands in for Margaret Dumont as the main foil for Turturro and company. Dennis Dugan directs with a strong sense of humor, but it's clear that he realizes the challenge he faces. To his credit, he manages to partially succeed. What's refreshing about Brain Donors is the attempt to recapture some of the old zany Marx madness in a comedy clearly meant for an audience to pay attention to the verbal wordplay, but that proves to be its downfall as well since there is no real way to improve on the original and today's audiences are no longer geared toward that type of humor. There are a lot of good sight gags thrown about in an attempt to compensate, particularly from Nelson, but you get the idea that Turturro is a bit out of his element, and, rather than flow from situational gag to gag, some of the jokes feels forced. It's a very good piece of mindless entertainment if that's what's desired, but as the Marx Brothers proved time and time again, the silliest fluff can really be extremely sophisticated at its roots.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/26/2004
  • UPC: 097363223641
  • Original Release: 1992
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Alternate Wide Screen (1.78:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:19:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Turturro Roland T. Flakfizer
Bob Nelson Jacques
Mel Smith Rocco Melonchek
Nancy Marchand Lillian Oglethorpe
John Savident Lazlo
George de la Pena Roberto Volare
Julie Donald Lisa Le Baron
Spike Alexander Alan Grant
Teri Copley Tina
Donna Isaacson
John Lyons
Irene Olga Lopez Pedestrian
Anita Dangler Usherette
Charlotte Zucker Woman with Program
Max Alexander L.A. Stage Manager
Billy Beck Janitor
Dick Corman Theatre Janitor
Jim Smith Stage Hand
Dennis Dugan Stage Hand
Eddie Griffin Messenger
Louisa Abernathy Nurse
Corki Grazer Nurse
Kathleen Doyle Nurse
Franklin Cover Doctor
Richardson Morse Jailor
Jason Ross-Azikiwe Precinct Cop
Thomas Mikal Ford Cop
Matthew Sussman Cop
Charles Dugan N.Y. Stage Manager
Barbara Schillaci Stuffy Patron
Eric Poppick Chauffeur
Gary Grossman Father
Technical Credits
Dennis Dugan Director
Stan Barrett Stunts
Simone Boisseree Stunts
Mary R. Boss Stunts
James D. Brubaker Producer
Malcolm Campbell Editor
Frank Carrisosa Makeup
William J. Cassidy Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
Joe Finnegan Stunts
Troy M. Gilbert Stunts
William B. Kaplan Sound/Sound Designer
Gary A. Lee Set Decoration/Design
Jimmy Lewis Stunts
Robert Maddy Set Decoration/Design
Matt McColm Stunts
Gary McLarty Stunts
James Murakami Set Decoration/Design
Michael Nash Camera Operator
Gil Netter Producer
Ira Newborn Score Composer
Pat Proft Screenwriter
Frank Richwood Art Director
William Ladd Skinner Art Director
Paul Stader Stunts
Robert Turturice Costumes/Costume Designer
David M. Walsh Cinematographer
Chuck Waters Stunts
Fred M. Waugh Stunts
Jim Wilkey Stunts
Jerry Zucker Producer
David Zucker Producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [4:05]
2. Chasing Ambulances [10:00]
3. Last Will & Testament [6:02]
4. Leotard Nights [8:50]
5. No, No, Nay, Nyet [9:34]
6. Flakfizer Is Ballet [7:35]
7. My Two Favorite "L's" [7:51]
8. Ether, Either... [8:10]
9. He Spins, He Scores! [9:55]
10. We're a Hit [7:17]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Set Up
      Audio Options: English 5.1 Surround
      Audio Options: English Dolby Surround
      Subtitle Options: English
      Subtitle Options: None
   Scene Selection
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hysterical

    Brain Donors is the funniest movie ever. I can watch it over and over and it never gets old. I even recite lines from it all the time. It's so good. It's a classic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Every time I see it, it gets funnier

    I've have seen this movie probably over 20 times and it is just as funny. John Tutorro is great so is Bob Nelson and Mel Smith. I love the slapstick comedy and randomness of this movie. The Ballet scene alone is one of the funniest scenes. I highly recommend this film.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2003

    BEST SLAPSTICK COMEDY

    I first saw this movie in the movie theatre and Let me tell you....IT WAS HYSTERICAL. You have to be down to earth and fast witted to really understand whats going on...but I guarentee you will love this movie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2003

    Funniest movie ever made.

    This movie is a true classic. The laughs never stop through this off the wall comedy. A must see for all comedy fans. It's just as good on the 5th or 6th viewing as it is on the 1st, and the jokes hold up even 11 years after it's release.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews