Randy and the Mob

Movies Reviews Ray McKinnon
Randy and the Mob

DVD Release Date: Sept. 1

Writer/Director: Ray McKinnon

Starring: McKinnon, Paul Ben-Victor, Lisa Blount, Brent Briscoe, Tim DeKay, Sam Frihart, Walton Goggins, Bill Nunn, Maryann Perone, Burt Reynolds

Studio/Run Time: Capricorn Pictures, 99 mins.

Not every film has to be Raging Bull. Not every film even has to be Annie Hall. Sometimes it’s enough just to be really funny.

The latest film from the fruitful collaboration of Ray McKinnon, Lisa Blount and Walton Goggins is released this week to DVD and On Demand. Unlike the trio’s previous films, which tended toward the dark side, Randy and the Mob is “just” a family comedy (though not quite as broad or as formulaic as the DVD cover would suggest). McKinnon plays Randy, a small-town Southern man trying to keep his financial head above water while simultaneously trying to keep his family together and to win the “Man of the Year” award from the local Chamber of Commerce. He’s managed to put himself in debt to both the IRS and the mob, and the latter comes calling (that the former would not beat them to the punch is one of the few logical leaps in the film). The mob sends in a fixer named Tino Armani, played by Walton Goggins with a Sling Blade-meets-Terminator delivery that viewers will either love or hate.

It all sounds like something you’ve seen before, but if you’ve seen any of the team’s previous efforts you know that they don’t do anything by the book. Each of their films has a truly authentic Southernness that transcends the stereotypes by which Hollywood nearly always represents the region (“I’ve never once heard anyone I know use the word “if’n”,” laughs McKinnon). These characters live and breathe, and that’s the source of the laughter, not a collection of one-liners and slapstick setups (although I must admit that McKinnon diving headfirst into a pile of dirty diapers is a pratfall worthy of John Ritter). It’s a more humane brand of comedy.

It’s also more difficult to pull off, and McKinnon draws wonderful performances from the cast he’s assembled. He himself plays both Randy and Randy’s gay twin brother Cecil, and he so fully inhabits each that you honestly forget he’s playing both parts. The inestimable Goggins is great, of course, as Tino, especially since much of his work is confined to the action behind Tino’s eyes. Blount plays Southern suburban-housewife desperation perfectly (when Randy tells her she might be clinically depressed, the glare she shoots him is one of the best moments in the film).

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