Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Raising Arizona (1987)
15

Are you regularly left feeling disappointed by the promises that movie taglines make? Well, "Raising Arizona" claims to be 'A comedy beyond belief' and that's exactly what you get.

Nicolas Cage plays a guy who just can't stay out of jail. Time is passing him by, and as the padre of the pokey reminds him "Most men your age are getting married and raising up a family." Cage clearly takes this to heart as the next time he's released, he gets himself hitched to the police department's photographer, Holly Hunter.

To begin with, all is sweet until we discover that Hunter can't have children. Meanwhile, not very far away, a woman gives birth to quintuplets. As Hunter puts it, "They've got more than they can handle," so Cage obligingly steals her a baby for them both to raise. While they might have expected trouble, no one could have predicted the extraordinary chain of events that follows.

The baby-stealing scene is an absolute scream, and the laughs keep coming courtesy of the many slapstick highlights that litter this fast and furious action comedy. It may have a silly veneer, but the script deftly churns out smart dialogue that not only zips the story along, but also allows for a sweet relationship between Cage and Hunter to form.

Cage reveals a talent for farcical slapstick, just as George Clooney did in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", while the supporting cast delight in their derailed characters. Wrapping it all up in an exciting, slick visual style is cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld. He does the job with such smooth panache that the film doesn't seem to have dated at all.

Read a review of the DVD.

Read a profile of the Coen brothers.

End Credits

Director: Joel Coen

Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe, Sam McMurray, Frances McDormand, Randall 'Tex' Cobb, TJ Kuhn

Genre: Comedy

Length: 90 minutes

Cinema: 1987

DVD: 30 July 2001

VHS: 18 January 1999

Country: USA

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