Easy Money (1983 film)

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Easy Money
Easy Money (1983) film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Signorelli
Produced by Estelle Endler
John Nicolella
Written by Rodney Dangerfield
Michael Endler
P. J. O'Rourke
Dennis Blair
Music by Laurence Rosenthal
Cinematography Fred Schuler
Edited by Ronald Roose
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release dates
19 August 1983
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $29,309,766

Easy Money is a 1983 comedy film starring Rodney Dangerfield, Joe Pesci, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Candice Azzara, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It was directed by James Signorelli and written by Dangerfield, Michael Endler, P. J. O'Rourke and Dennis Blair. The original music score was composed by Laurence Rosenthal. The theme song "Easy Money" is performed by Billy Joel and featured on his album An Innocent Man.


Montgomery "Monty" Capuletti (Rodney Dangerfield) is a hard-living, heavy-drinking, pot-smoking, gambling family man who makes his living as a baby photographer. He loves his wife Rose (Candice Azzara) but has a very tense relationship with his wealthy, snobbish mother-in-law Mrs. Monahan (Geraldine Fitzgerald) who runs a successful department store chain and hates the way Monty acts and lives (The movie lightly touches on ethnic rivalry---Dangerfield's character is a stereotype of Italians often invoked by the Irish, while his wife's family represent the more puritanical, staid lace curtain Irish stereotypes).

The irresponsible Monty cannot even pick up a wedding cake for his engaged daughter Allison (Jennifer Jason Leigh) without fouling up. He and his best friend Nicholas 'Nicky' Cerone (Joe Pesci) are smoking marijuana while driving and an accident destroys the cake.

After Monty's mother-in-law dies unexpectedly, his family is in for an inheritance. Attorney Scrappleton (Tom Ewell) reveals that Mrs. Monahan left a stipulation in her will that if Monty is able to curb his vices for a year by going on a diet and giving up drugs and gambling, he will receive $10 million. If not, the family gets nothing. Allison's wedding to the peculiar Julio (Taylor Negron) goes off without a hitch, at least until the wedding night. The guys Monty would often drink and gamble with are also interested in whether or not Monty can really give up everything they did together, and are betting whether or not he will make it. Monty and Nicky go to the mother-in-law's department store and find awkward fashions and catering to a clientele which clearly do not include the likes of Nicky and Monty. Nicky then argues that it may not be worth it to Monty if this is the kind of atmosphere he will be exposed to, but Monty points out he must tough it out in order to provide for his wife and daughters, not just him. Meanwhile, the scheming right-hand man to Mrs. Monahan named Clive Barlow (Jeffrey Jones) does his best to undermine Monty's resolve so the money and department store can instead be left to him.

Monty ultimately reforms. When the entire year is up, he and the family celebrate aboard a boat. To his chagrin though, Mrs. Monahan turns up. She had faked her own death simply to persuade her slovenly son-in-law to straighten up. Ultimately though, she gives the money to Monty on the basis he upheld her stipulation. Now rich, Monty and his family live in a mansion. However, Monty hints the "clean living" clause has just expired as he kisses his mother-in-law good night and fakes heading to bed. Monty then proceeds to a hideaway to join Nicky and his friends for pizza, poker and beer.


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