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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Throw Momma from the Train, a hit dark comedy from the '80s, has violent and sexual content that makes it inappropriate for younger kids. Characters fantasize about and openly discuss murdering those who have made their lives difficult. There's slapstick physical comedy on the order of a character getting hit in the head with a skillet, hit in the crotch with a cane, and thrown out the back of a moving train. Characters freely discuss sex, and in one scene, two characters start to have sex on a couch, and their moans can be heard. Expect occasional strong language, too, like "f--k" and "s--t."
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What's the story?
Larry (Billy Crystal) is a writer suffering an acute case of writer's block; his ex-wife stole his last manuscript and submitted it under her name and is now a best-selling celebrity author because of it. Larry is also a creative writing professor at a nearby community college where he teaches Owen (Danny DeVito), a middle-aged man who still lives at home with his mean mother. After discussing the shortcomings of a mystery story Owen turned in to class, and how Owen should study Hitchcock to understand the mechanics of great mysteries, the conversation turns to how Larry wishes his ex-wife would be murdered, and how Owen wishes his mother would be killed. As he watches the Hitchcock movie Strangers on a Train, Owen thinks he understands what Larry wants, so Owen flies to Hawaii-where Larry's ex-wife lives -- and kills her. He returns home, demanding that Larry return the favor.
Is it any good?
THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN, like many '80s comedies, isn't exactly timeless. It's as much a vehicle for Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito to goof off and engage in pratfalls and quip-offs as it is a kinda dark comedy about double murder. While it's nice to see DeVito play someone who isn't a total jerk (like in Taxi or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), the chemistry between DeVito and Crystal is just as likely to fall flat as it is to succeed.
Many of the one-liners ("She's not a woman....she's the Terminator!" says Crystal after being knocked to the floor with a cane to the crotch) are as dated as white high-top Reeboks. There are some good twists and turns here, and in spite of everything, you do actually find yourself hoping Larry and Owen end up OK in the end. But even if the voice of Momma echoes in your head for days after, nothing else of much substance sticks after the movie ends.
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