Tin Men | Chicago Reader

Tin Men

Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito as rival aluminum-siding salesmen locked in an ongoing feud as the result of a minor traffic accident. It's retrenchment time for director Barry Levinson after the impersonality of The Natural and Young Sherlock Holmes, though this partial return to the old-neighborhood themes of his 1982 Diner (male-bonding rituals over short-order meals in 60s Baltimore) only goes to show that comic inspiration never hits the same restaurant twice. The plot seems unnaturally forced, with Dreyfuss simultaneously battling DeVito and romancing his wife (Barbara Hershey, who can't get a handle on her role) while the government cracks down on siding scams and brings the brotherhood of tin men to ignominious heel (another wild west passing, I suppose). Levinson's only idea of style is crosscutting monotony, and his main attention to period consists of running vintage automobiles past the camera in endless procession (all the cars are in mint condition: don't they have any beaters in Baltimore?). The comedy turns to sentimental mush when Dreyfuss finally realizes the error of his ways (he even considers trading in his Caddy for a consciousness-raising Volkswagen), but by then nothing has much point anyway. With John Mahoney, Jackie Gayle, Seymour Cassel, and Stanley Brock.


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