Review: ‘Taking Care of Business’
Starring: Jim Belushi, Charles Grodin, Loryn Locklin, Mako and Hector Elizondo
Rated: R for language
Running time: 107 minutes
Where to find it: Best bet for finding it will be through Amazon.com or Netflix.
We all have problems. They can be big — buying a house with no credit — or small — trying to swat that mosquito that keeps buzzing around your ear at four in the morning.
Sometimes our problems become so great we wish we could be someone else, assume someone else’s life and have what they have, which in our fantasies is always more than what we have.
Well, that’s called identity theft and it’s illegal.
But don’t fret! While in reality that type of thing is frowned upon, there’s nothing wrong with it in the movies. Especially if the movie is a comedy called “Taking Care of Business.”
Much like the rest of us, Jimmy Dworski (Jim Belushi) has problems. His is that he wants to go to a Cubs game.
Simple enough, right? Well, therein lies the other problem.
Jimmy’s a small-time convict serving a sentence in a minimum-security prison near Malibu, California.
He has 60 hours to go before he’s paroled, but the Cubs/Angels World Series game (you read right) he wants to see takes place before that.
Being a huge Cubs fan, Jimmy needs to break out of prison, get to the game, and then figure out how to break back into prison in time for his parole.
And you thought you had problems.
After an elaborate setup, Jimmy escapes, but that’s about it. He has no money and certainly no means.
That’s where Spencer Barnes (Charles Grodin, when he used to be funny) comes into play. He’s an overly uptight ad exec who keeps his entire life in his “filofax.”
Spencer is so wrapped up in his job he accidentally leaves his “life” atop a phone booth where Jimmy finds it shortly thereafter.
That’s not all he finds.
Inside are credit cards, directions to a Malibu beach house where Spencer was to be staying and a house key.
Almost sounds too easy, but it’s a comedy so you can laugh it off.
Jimmy suddenly has a plan. For the next two days he’ll be Spencer Barnes, a rich, well-to-do businessman. Problem is Jimmy knows nothing about the business Barnes is in.
While he enjoys the perks of being one of the elite, such as getting to know the boss’s daughter (Loryn Locklin), comedic reality sets in.
He finds that being Spencer means taking on his job responsibilities, too, such as meeting with company hotshots who are used to being treated like geniuses.
Jimmy has quite a few ideas the real Spencer would never dream of sharing. It’s a good thing he shares them, though, because they’re some of the funniest scenes in the movie.
Speaking of the real Spencer, as Jimmy’s life keeps getting better and better, Spencer’s gets so low he’s practically in the gutter. And you can almost take that literally.
When he learns that someone is out there posing as him, he tries his hardest to make it to Malibu to get his life back, but obstacles like cops and muggers (to say the least) keep getting in his way.
No matter how you slice it, Jimmy and Spencer are going to have an unforgettable two days. If only Jimmy could figure out a way to break back into prison.
“Taking Care of Business” is one of those movies I refer to as a no consequences movie. It means the characters can pretty much get away with whatever they want whenever they want without repercussions.
You could argue it’s lazy writing. But a movie about a guy who needs to break out of prison to see a Cubs game and then break back into prison right after to be paroled sounds like a genius premise to me.
The Movie Dude, Joe Altomere of Fort Myers, grew up in his parents’ video store in Plantersville, Texas. He owns close to 2,000 DVDs and Blu-ray discs and considers that only the start of his collection. E-mail him at email@example.com.