Double Whammy

Director: Tom DiCillo
Screenwriters: Tom DiCillo

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


Tom DiCillo returns with Double Whammy to demonstrate once again his talent for taking a story and infusing it with offbeat characters and topical references. Story lines are played out for maximum effect, much as in his earlier Living in Oblivion, but DiCillo has evolved into a filmmaker whose work is layered and complex.

Ray Pluto (Denis Leary) and Jerry Cubbins (Steve Buscemi) are New York City homicide detectives well endowed with comic possibilities. Recent events have led to Pluto being pegged as something of a wiseass. In truth, he hasn't been himself since the tragic death of his wife and child and finds solace by smoking a little hash and watching "Fitness Cheer," a bubbly exercise show with scantily clad cheerleaders. While Pluto is getting lunch one day, a vicious gunman bursts in and Pluto is presented with the perfect opportunity to regain some self-respect. But instead, Pluto's back goes into a spasm and he drops his gun, allowing six-year-old "little Ricky Kapinski" to save the day. The press goes wild.

DiCillo has a knack for assembling an eclectic group of actors and putting them in the most compromising situations. Pluto's apartment building is a flurry of crazy activity. Elizabeth Hurley, as Pluto's chiropractor love interest, is a unique foil to Leary's goofy charm. The title can be seen as a metaphor for the structure of the director's comic flair. When DiCillo goes for laughs in Double Whammy, he gets them, time and time again.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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