RIP Robin Williams
Cadillac Man seems to have been made by splicing two half arsed scripts together. Surprisingly the finished product isn’t an entire arse, but merely a mild disappointment, mixed with amazement that this was made in the first place.
Of course it was made a quarter century ago. If this script was submitted today it would be scrawled over in red pen with notes such as ‘where are the giant robots?’, ‘needs more explosions’ and ‘Robert Pattinson for the lead?’.
Of course none of these things happened, and accordingly this film vanished without a trace.
Joey O’Brien (Robin Williams) is a salesman. His career and passion is selling cars, but he also plies a fair trade in bullshit, both with prospective clients and prospective females.
Unfortunately recent times have seen him have a dry spell in the car game, but a hot streak with the ladies, simultaneously juggling several women at once, while also corresponding with an ex-wife and a rebellious teen daughter.
So it is fair to say that Joey was feeling the pinch even before being forewarned of a job cull at the dealer where he works. His ultimatum; sell cars fast, like 15 in a day fast – or you’re gone.
To his credit Joey takes on the challenge head on. He calls in favours, works every prospect as hard as he can and even tries to manufacture interest in total strangers. Precious little works, and with girlfriends asking for his time and his ex-wife calling to ask for his help, it seems like nothing can stop Joey from having an especially bad day. The temperature rises and the pressure builds.
Enter Larry (Tim Robbins). On a motorbike. Through a plate glass window. Armed with a machine gun. Larry has gatecrashed sale day to confront his wife about an affair that he believes her to be having. Amazingly Larry’s wife seems to be the only woman in the vicinity who Joey isn’t banging, but that doesn’t stop Joey from ‘fessing up to the accusation. Perhaps out of habit.
Larry is many things; inept, bumbling, thick, volatile, unpredictable. One thing he definitely isn’t is well prepared. The police arrive – as they usually do in a hostage situation where shots have been fired – and it swiftly becomes evident that unless someone takes charge Larry will inevitably do some harm.
Ever the salesman, Joey steps up and offers his services as a liaison with the cops, the other hostages, and anyone who decides to get involved, which ends up being a lot of people.
Unfortunately confusion and occasional middling jokes are not enough. There are a dozen threads through this film that could have been investigated, Larry’s relationship with his wife, Joey’s with his ex, the background of Joey’s daughter, the sales day, ultimately none are fleshed out, and in their absence we get a surprisingly level Robin Williams, an on-edge Tim Robbins, and a demanding and direct Chinese restaurant employee who steals every scene she is in.
Cadillac Man is a smattering of everything and a whole lot of nothing. It is a bunch of frustrating nibbles without a deal for anyone at the end. It’s a big NO SALE for me.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. How could a film about a remarkable man having a most remarkable day be so very unremarkable?