Taking Care of Business is less a “Ha-Ha” funny comedy than a likable guy running around getting into mischief at the expense of an uptight business guy. What is more of a shock is that James Belushi is the likable guy, and that aside from the “I can’t believe you tried that” mini ponytail that he sports for the film you really hope he gets away with things such as escaping from prison. Now thanks to According to Jim I actually hope Belushi doesn’t get away with things and is thrown to prison.
Belushi is Jimmy Dworski, an inmate at a small time prison who is due for release any day. When he wins tickets to see his beloved baseball team in the World Series he begs the warden to let him out a day early. No dice. (I agree too, a sentence is a sentence. You do the crime…)
So with the ease bestowed upon movie characters within hours Dworski is out while his fellow inmates cover up for him by staging a strike and holding “Jimmy” hostage.
Charles Grodin is Spencer Barnes, an uptight advertising exec working and slaving under a demanding boss hoping for the ever elusive promotion. Much to his wife’s chagrin he is sent to LA to win a big account with a Japanese firm. Spencer’s life is dictated by a folder that he cariies with him at all times with schedules, phone numbers and vital info in it… nowadays we call it a Blackberry but this was 1989.
Guess what he loses? And guess what Jimmy picks up?
So one lost folder becomes one guy’s mistaken identity and one guy’s misfortune. Spencer is mugged, dumped by his wife, fired and thrown in jail all in the same day, each time falling back in desperation on the same shrill voiced woman that he met on his flight.
Meanwhile Jimmy lives in a massive house, is wined and dined, plays tennis, drives fast cars, and bangs the hotttttttttt daughter of Spencer’s boss, all the while going by that same moniker. Of course Jimmy becomes a successful ad-exec in about 10 minutes, impresses everyone with his “maverick” style and no-one realizes the mistaken identity, but these are the sacrifices you make to enjoy films like this.
When Spencer and Jimmy finally meet they each learn something about themselves, awwwww, and Jimmy must break back into jail unnoticed so that he can be released and they can both continue their friendship. It must be said that it seems the businessman learns more than the convict, I’m not sure what type of message this sends to the kids…
As I mentioned there aren’t much in the way of big gags in this film, but it generally keeps a smirk on your face and is a quite enjoyable 90 odd minutes. Perfect for killing a couple hours on the weekend with offending the missus with a violent film or a horror, whilst avoiding the inevitable rom-com suggestions that arise at such times.
Final Rating – 7 / 10. Probably hard to even track down nowadays, but a harmless film and worth watching if only to remind you there was a time when Belushi was less annoying.