This is one of the most underrated holiday movies ever made. I think it might also be one of my favorite Steve Martin films. It’s also one of the few Nora Ephron movies that doesn’t make me feel like I need an insulin injection or a barf bag halfway through.
The story centers on Martin, who runs a suicide prevention hotline staffed by Rita Wilson and Madeline Kahn. He receives an eviction notice on Christmas Eve…and hilarity ensues. It’s probably too quirky for its own good most of the time, but it’s also highly dysfunctional. I love dysfunction. How can you not? Look at it…it’s got “fun” right in the middle of it!
Let’s start with the cast. Yes, it’s one of those overwhelming ensemble casts. Check the litany:Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, Rita Wilson, Robert Klein, Anthony LaPaglia, Juliette Lewis, Rob Reiner, Gary Shandling, Adam Sandler, Liev Schreiber, Parker Posey, Jon Stewart, Joely Fisher…plus a very little Haley Joel Osment.
Standouts from the group are Madeline Kahn, whom I have adored since I first saw her as Mrs. White in Clue, and Liev Schreiber, who…well, let’s just say that this was the best introduction to any actor I could have ever wished for. No matter what I see him in, he will always ALWAYS be Chris…
Who knew Sabretooth could rock lace so fiercely?
Adam Sandler irritates me, but he usually does. Otherwise, the rest of the cast fits together like the gears of a Swiss movement watch. Okay, maybe not that precise, but they all make a great hodgepodge of characters.
And then there’s the soundtrack. Oh what a fun playlist this makes! Plus, this was the very first time I heard Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” This is the only version of this song that should be allowed to exist. All others fail in every way that Eartha’s succeeds. Madonna’s version should be burned out of existence. And the Pussycat Dolls should all die slow, horribly painful deaths for the abortive mess they made of this classic holiday standard. I only watched 5 seconds of that clip and I thought my eyes and ears were going to start bleeding.
No, it’s gotta be Eartha.
The only thing that disappoints me about this movie is the fact that they have never released it in widescreen format on DVD. I do not understand the point of releasing anything less than the original theatrical aspect ratio on DVD, and I refuse to buy anything less. So, sadly, I don’t own this one. I also don’t own a DVD copy of Death Becomes Her for the same reason. And I’m equally pissed off about both of these gaps in my movie collection.
The good news, however, is that you can watch Mixed Nuts online, in its entirety. In widescreen! Go figure.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out. Even if you don’t like it, it’s free. My gift to you 🙂