Safe Men

Safe Men

Director: John Hamburg

Cast: John Hamburg, Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, Paul Giamatti

     
 

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A case of mistaken identity forces a pair of lounge singers to pose as safecrackers in this farce. Sam (Sam Rockwell) and Eddie (Steve Zahn) are hapless musicians; Frank (Mark Ruffalo) and Mitchell (Josh Pais) are expert safecrackers. But when local Jewish gangster Big Fat Bernie Gayle (Michael Lerner) dispatches his henchman, Veal Chop (Paul Giamatti), to trick the

Overview

A case of mistaken identity forces a pair of lounge singers to pose as safecrackers in this farce. Sam (Sam Rockwell) and Eddie (Steve Zahn) are hapless musicians; Frank (Mark Ruffalo) and Mitchell (Josh Pais) are expert safecrackers. But when local Jewish gangster Big Fat Bernie Gayle (Michael Lerner) dispatches his henchman, Veal Chop (Paul Giamatti), to trick the safecrackers into service, the hapless Veal Chop can't tell the difference. In the end, Sam and Eddie are forced to go along with Veal Chop's mistake and perform three separate robberies for the imposing Big Fat Bernie. During their very first mission -- to rob the safe of local fence Good Stuff Leo (Harvey Fierstein) -- they're apprehended by Hannah (Christina Kirk), Leo's affable, deadpan daughter. Hannah lets the guys go, but sparks fly between her and Sam. It just so happens, however, that real safecracker Frank is her ex-boyfriend, and that she's sworn off dating criminals for life. The coincidences, double crosses, and unlikely romance culminate in the bar mitzvah of Bernie's son, Little Big Fat Bernie (Michael Schmidt), whose present is the Stanley Cup -- the actual hockey trophy -- which was stolen from Good Stuff Leo by the reluctant Sam and Eddie. Shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, Safe Men marked the writing and directing debut of future Meet the Parents and Zoolander scribe John Hamburg. The film also gave a pre-stardom Mark Ruffalo one of his first featured roles. Sam Rockwell and Josh Pais previously appeared together in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
From exploding polyester pants and fake ass cheeks to grotesque bar mitzvahs and Jewish gangster schtick, Safe Men is full of comedic elements that may not endear it to good-taste gatekeepers or folks who prefer their humor politically correct. For everyone else, it's a riot -- a tongue-in-cheek combination of the heist flick, the romantic comedy, the Gen X ensemble piece, and the comedy of manners. First-time writer/director John Hamburg turns in a script as incisive as it is funny, deconstructing the very concept of manhood by exposing the foibles of an oddball assortment of well-observed masculine types. From the shy nerd to the wacky slacker, the imposing gangster to the crook with a heart of gold, Hamburg introduces any number of stereotypes, then both undermines and enriches them with clever details and unexpected casting. Paul Giamatti and Harvey Fierstein strike comic gold as, respectively, a Mob henchman with drawstring genie pants and an inferiority complex and a droll, big-stakes fence with a discount showroom and a lethal lisp. Meanwhile, the subtle Sam Rockwell and the zany Steve Zahn dig deep into their screen personae and show us how they tick. Mark Ruffalo doesn't get as much screen time, but his perpetually abashed safecracker is a study in comic economy. The bit players, too, are all consistently fine. Of course, this is the sort of movie where you know the hapless protagonist is going to endure all sorts of humiliations before being rescued by the girl of his dreams -- wry, wonderful girl-next-door Christina Kirk -- in the final reel. But Safe Men is so full of great character acting, surreal humor, and genuine chemistry that any such contrivances fail to matter. Hamburg would go on to become an in-demand Hollywood screenwriter, but this little ensemble piece is truer, and funnier, than anything else on his resume so far.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/15/2006
UPC:
0025192113529
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
R
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
84,947

Special Features

Deleted scenes; Tick: a short film by John Hamburg; Commentary with director John Hamburg, Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sam Rockwell Sam
Steve Zahn Eddie
Paul Giamatti Veal Chop
Michael Schmidt Bernie Jr.
Michael Lerner Big Fat Bernie Gayle
Mark Ruffalo Frank
Christina Kirk Hannah
Harvey Fierstein Leo

Technical Credits
John Hamburg Director,Screenwriter
Coll Anderson Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Barrett Cinematographer
Ellen Bonfman Producer
Bob Cavallo Executive Producer
Jeffrey Clifford Producer
Jonathan Cohen Producer
Elon Dershowitz Executive Producer
Anthony Gasparro Production Designer
Andrew Hauptman Producer
Ondine Karady Art Director
Avy Kaufman Casting
Nicholas Kazan Executive Producer
Rain Kramer Associate Producer
Ted Kurdyla Executive Producer
Michele Kuznetsky Musical Direction/Supervision
Suzanne Pillsbury Editor
Mary Ramos Musical Direction/Supervision
Theodore Shapiro Score Composer
Cat Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Rob York Asst. Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Safe Men
1. Lost [5:32]
2. Kidding Ourselves [2:42]
3. Breaking Tradition [4:03]
4. Lawrence Nightingale Syndrome [5:22]
5. In Debt [6:37]
6. No Way Out [3:45]
7. Caught in the Act [6:14]
8. Forbidden Fruit [5:48]
9. Give & Take [6:38]
10. No More Kidding [3:22]
11. Exploding Snacks [4:31]
12. Sweet 'Stache [4:27]
13. The Last Click [3:13]
14. One More Thing [4:09]
15. A Clear Vision [3:42]
16. Lots of Love [3:53]
17. Safe [8:10]
18. End Titles [5:37]

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