Movie and plot overview
Dentist Sheldon Corpett from Manhattan has a daughter who is about to get married and comes into his head. The groom’s father, Vince Ricardo (who may or may not be CIA), had been in his head for so long that he might have lost it altogether.
Movie overview Straight
Below is a brief description of the spoilers.
Peter Falk plays the role of Vince Ricardo – who may or may not work for the CIA. Vince steals an armored car to steal American engraving plates and helps the Central American dictator flood the economy with money to create massive inflation in the world and eliminate their debt. When he hears that he has to raise $1.5 million the next day, he tells him that his son is getting married this weekend and he hasn’t even had a chance to meet his new In Laws yet.
That evening, Vince and his family set out to meet the new in-laws, led by Alan Arkin, who plays the role of Sheldon Corpett – a strong, stable dentist with a routine life. During dinner, Vince immediately arouses Shelley’s suspicions, tells crazy stories about life in the jungles of Guatemala and observes how tsetse flies kidnap local children and lead them to certain death in their little flying basin. While he was there, Vince secretly hid one of the engraving plates in Shelley’s basement for safekeeping.
When Vince goes to get a printout from his office the next day, two gangsters from the ’70s are waiting for him. Unable to enter his own office without the thugs noticing him, Vince enlists the help of the unknown Sheldon and asks him to remove the engraved bag from Vince’s trunk. Not knowing what he’s getting into, and believing he’s helping a family member, Shelly decides to help him and they go get the bag.
After a chaotic taxi ride to Vince’s office, Sheldon passes the villains and goes to Vince’s office where he pulls a bag out of Vince’s trunk, which is behind a personally signed photo of President Kennedy. Soon the thugs find out what’s going on and they go after Shelly – guns are painted. When Shelly realizes he’s in trouble, he pushes down the fire escape and starts running for the rest of his life – in the streets of New York City, especially West 31st Street. He goes back to the cabin, but discovers that Vince and the neighbor are having coffee. This is where Vince tells the taxi driver that he works for the CIA. While Shelley dodges bullets through the window, Vince pays the check and leaves.
After rescuing Shelley from the villains, they return to Shelley’s office where Vince tells her that he just parked his car during the robbery of American currency pins, a crime punishable by 40 years in maximum security, for which Shelley soon faints in his office. When Vince and Shelley arrive, they go to the restaurant to let Shelley know what’s going on (and that the pea soup is a bit salty, but very tasty). Vince says he works for the CIA and stole disks to dismantle a counterfeit ring planned by a Central American country. And the fact that he is REALLY proud of the way Shelley behaved during the hunt – which brings a proud smile to Shelley’s face. But unfortunately, the CIA thought the plan was too risky – so Vince did it himself. And if he gets caught, the CIA will say they don’t know him. So you’re on your own.
Meanwhile, on the way back to Shelley’s basement, while preparing for the wedding, some movers find more stitches. They only take them to the bank to find out federal crime is on the front page. Well, Shelly’s a suspicious hijacker. When Shelley comes home, she’ll find federal agents waiting for her. In a panic, he flies away until he’s lost it. He calls Vince to tell him what’s going on.
Vince tells him not to worry – and to pick him up at a small airport, and they fly to Scranton, Pennsylvania, at noon, and then everything is arranged. Shelly agrees, and they take off in a small plane with two very Asian pilots, the Wong brothers, who do not speak English. Shelly suddenly realizes that they’re not going to Scranton – they’re going to Tijata, a country in Central America, a small island south of Honduras. There they will meet General Jesus Braunschweiger, a deputy who will help them. Unfortunately the general has been shot down at the airfield – the Wong brothers are currently taking off and Vince and Shelley are stuck on the runway where they were shot down. If one of the funniest stories in the history of cinema follows, all you have to do is see it with your own eyes.
After the escape from the airport Vince and Shelley went to a safe hotel that was infected with chickens. While he is at the hotel, Shelley slips away and calls the local CIA office where she discovers that Vince no longer works for the CIA because many of his crazy ideas have led to tragedy. Shelley’s trying to escape, but he’s got nowhere else to go. Thus he accompanies Vince, and eventually they open the way to a meeting with General Garcia, the puppeteer of the dictator of Tijatan, perfectly played by Richard Libertini. General Garcia is happy to see Vince and they greet each other like old friends. The general adds engraved waffles to the waffles of all the other counties he has bought, to cause a monetary collapse that will help the country out of debt.
The general, for his part, pays Vince $20 million, and they celebrate by having lunch there. The general awards Vince and Shelley the General Garcia Freedom Medal – a beautiful medallion engraved on his picture – and the City Whore Medal. At that time Shelley was very excited about the excitement he felt and even warmed up in front of Vince. He smiles proudly when he receives his medal. Unfortunately, the excitement is short-lived because General Garcia told Shelley and Vince he had to kill them both now.
Shocked by both, Shelly panics when the general places them blindfolded in front of a firing squad. As time goes on, Vince starts asking for a cigarette so that Shelley can at least come down as a man. Eventually the CIA bursts in – shoot the gun and save the day. You save Vince and Shelley and arrest General Garcia. They tell Shelly that they had to beat him to protect their cover, and they hope he’ll understand. Then they ask Vince about the $10 million General Garcia gave him – which he gladly gave to the CIA – while they put the other $10 million they didn’t know in their pocket. Vince decides it’s time to stop the espionage trade and Shelly accepts. And sitting at $5 million each, Vince and Shelley arrive just in time for their kids’ wedding to take the helicopter and give their kids a wonderful wedding gift – $1 million each.
And if you ever hear anyone say the words SERPENTINE or OH JESUS… Pigs, remember and smile with a smile and a warm nod.
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