- The Pope of Greenwich Village review by Count Otto Black
I'm really not sure what this film is trying to be: a mashup of "Mean Streets" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", perhaps? Judging by the trailer, they tried to market it as a feelgood buddy comedy, yet there's almost nothing in it that would make anyone in their right mind laugh. The central joke appears to be the notion that smooth, super-cool wise guy Charlie (Mickey Rourke) not only puts up with his immature, irresponsible, obnoxious, and altogether worthless third cousin Paulie (Eric Roberts), but goes along with all his harebrained schemes and excuses their inevitable failure without ever becoming more than temporarily annoyed because Italians are genetically compelled to behave like this. Or something. It's as funny as it sounds.
Mickey Rourke is actually pretty good as the decent guy with an ego bigger than the Bronx who's not quite as smart as he thinks he is. The problem is Eric Roberts. Almost every second he's on screen, he's incredibly annoying. From the very start, not only everyone in the audience but everyone in the movie knows he's a total waste of space, and Eric Roberts never ceases to remind us of this by overacting in a way that'll have you grating your teeth at five-minute intervals. He seems to be at least borderline retarded, he has no redeeming features whatsoever, and Eric Roberts' performance is so weird I often couldn't figure out whether or not Paulie was supposed to come across as screamingly gay (apparently not). Seriously, as soon as the instantly unbearable Paulie appeared and was established to be somebody Charlie reluctantly loved because he was family, I assumed he'd be killed about ten minutes in, and the plot would revolve around Charlie's revenge. Sadly not - Paulie's in the whole damn movie!
The uneasy mix of feeble humor and watered-down grittiness never works at all. One minute we're supposed to roar with laughter at a very contrived gag involving powerful laxatives, the next people are getting body-parts cut off. And since the focus throughout is firmly on two men, the supporting cast are wasted, including Daryl Hannah, whose character might as well have been named Eye Candy. Still, I suppose if somebody had to spend most of their screen-time doing aerobics in a leotard, better her than Eric Roberts.
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