By Dan Skip Allen
In Hollywood, there have some great comedic duos: Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, and Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte. But arguably one of the best films that have an iconic teaming is Midnight Run. The teaming of Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin is one of genius. They are two distinctly different types of actors. One is one of the best dramatic actors of all time and the other is a comedic genius. Martin Breast knew what he had with this teaming of these two complete opposites. This film and its cast turned out to be comedic gold.
Robert De Niro plays tough-nosed bounty, Hunter Jack Walsh. He is hired by Joe Pantoliano's character to find and bring a mob accountant to Los Angeles. What he didn't know on this country-long road trip is that the authorities and the mob themselves are looking for The Duke, what they call Grodin's character. If Walsh can survive this trip across the country he has to deal with the erratic personality of The Duke which is more he bargained for. This was supposed to be a simple midnight run, as the film's title suggests.
Charles Grodin has made a career of playing characters that have neurosis or neurotic personalities in his past. Characters that are put in situations he doesn't want to be in, such as the father in the Beethoven franchise or So I Married an Axe Murderer. These are the types of characters Grodin has been known for. His nervous nature is a perfect way for him to get laughs because people can relate to this kind of character. We all have a little scary cat in us at times. Gordon played into that with a lot of his characters in movies and on television.
Midnight Run is a fun movie because it has a fish out of water story involving Grodin's character. It also puts De Niro in a lot of comedic moments which at this time in his career he wasn't familiar with. He would eventually become very comfortable playing the straight man to some great comedic actors such as Ben Stiller and Billy Crystal. His teaming with Grodin though would be his first of such a nature. These two polar opposites were made for each other. They have great chemistry throughout the film.
Midnight Run takes familiar tropes such as a road trip movie and runs with it. It has some great chase scenes and some first-rate action. Breast mixes in all the action and comedic moments perfectly. The relationship throughout the film between the two leads. This film has transcended its release in 1988 because it's funny, has a lot of action and the road trip aspect of it brings fans of these two legendary actors together for an entertaining and memorable film team-up.
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