As we approach the end of 2019, the end of a decade, and I think it’s fitting that I as a script writer for hire, UK Script editor and script doctor finally managed to get hold of a copy of Bill Murray and Howard Franklin’s Quick Change (1990). One of those lost films from the 90s which is rarely seen now but has grown into one of the best comedies of the 90s, even if very few people have seen it or remember it.
The film was originally set to be directed by the late Jonathan Demme, but when he couldn’t do it, Murray and the novelist Howard Franklin decided to do it themselves.
It’s a funny, charming comedy about a bank robber, dressed as a clown (Murray) who pulls off an audacious heist, which goes smoothly, but he then finds that the city of New York itself conspires to make his (and his team’s) getaway almost impossible.
I love New York, and the city definitely is a character in itself, and this film sits with some great of the greatest New York comedy movies. Alongside Broadway Danny Rose, in-between After Hours (which it resembles) and snuggling up to the original (and best) Taking of Phelham 123. Murray is fabulous and funny, Geena Davis has never better too. And the film is an underrated enjoyable treat. It was made in the late 80s and released in the 1990s, but the film still has the sensibility of an 80s. Very, carefree, a bit fucked off, but not totally given up hope of a better world. Of course, things would come for New York which would hurt and scar the city and the world, and it goes without saying that the script wouldn’t work in a post 9/11 era.
The film is rich with cameos performances, please keep a special eye out for the late Phil Bosco as a bus driver, Phil Hartman as a gun toting Yuppie, and Stanley Tucci turns up as a mob guy, in a funny scene or two.
I also really like Randy Edelman’s musical score, which hits all the right notes. It’s a shame that Murray hasn’t directed more comedies. This feels assured and confident, unlike his character’s escape plan.
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire, UK Script editor and script doctor for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org or hire him on Peopleperhour
His directorial debut, the rubber reality horror thriller Markham will be released in 2020.