Raising Arizona (1987)
Reviewed on 2007 November 30
Unbelievably goofy Coen Brothers movie about quints, a cop, an idiot crook trying to reform, and a mysterious outlaw biker. I’ve seen other great movies with incongruous elements like this strung together, but I think only Joel and Ethan can make the characters be this cartoony and get away with it.
H.I. McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) is a small-time robber that keeps getting busted, revolving through an unchanging penal system and flirting with Officer Edwina “Ed” (Holly Hunter) every time she books him. H.I. isn’t the brightest criminal, but he charms Ed and they get married when he promises to reform. When Ed can’t have a baby, they’re devastated. There seems to be no way for them to have a child, until they hear local furniture magnate Nathan Arizona Huffhines (Trey Wilson) is the proud daddy of quintuplets. Reasoning it’s unfair that some people have so little when others have so much, they decide to help themselves to a “spare” Arizona baby. They plan to raise Nathan Jr. as their own, but elements — from H.I.’s past and darker places — threaten to do them in.
Nicolas Cage is perfect as H.I. and the Coens wrote the Ed character for Holly Hunter. I’m impressed with the acting from everyone here, because it’s hard to be deliberately cartoonish without being grating, and everyone pulls it off. If that’s not enough, we also get a lot of hilarious dialog and a great bit from Randall “Tex” Cobb as a nightmarish man(?) after a cut of Arizona’s money.
Three chocolate morsels and an RC Cola. MoonPie® optional.