Cover from the Thai VHS of Safe Men.
|Directed by||John Hamburg|
|Produced by||Ellen Bronfman|
|Written by||John Hamburg|
|Music by||Theodore Shapiro|
|Edited by||Suzanne Pillsbury
M. Scott Smith
|Distributed by||October Films|
|Release dates||August 7, 1998 (U.S.)|
|Running time||88 min.|
Safe Men is a 1998 film written and directed by John Hamburg. The crime-comedy starred Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn as a pair of aspiring lounge singers who are mistaken for ace safe crackers and get mixed up with a Jewish mobster, Big Fat Bernie Gayle (Michael Lerner) and Big Fat's intern, Veal Chop (Paul Giamatti).
In August 1998, The New York Times called it a "low-energy comedy with sufficient signs of willingness to stray off the beaten track to indicate that somewhere down the line its writer and director, John Hamburg, will create something far better." Roger Ebert gave the film (one star out of four), saying it "whirls wildly from one bright idea to the next, trying to find a combo that will hold the movie together. No luck." Mick LaSalle gave it "There's no dramatic urgency, no distinct point of view, no question of plot to keep an audience interested. All Safe Men has is the charm of the actors and the occasional friskiness of the writing. That's almost enough to keep the picture alive, minute by minute. Alive is not the same as thriving, but it's better than dead.
The vast majority of direct-to-video films are not very good, lacking not only star power and budget, but ideas and imagination. Every once in a while, though, a movie is denied a proper theatrical release not because it's bad, but because it just isn't the sort of film for which a studio is willing to risk a multimillion-dollar advertising budget. Safe Men is one of these movies, a modest but engaging crime comedy.
A.V. Club also called the film a "sort of Bottle Rocket Lite, sharing a deadpan, consistently sustained comic tone, as well as a palpable affection for its characters. Almost everyone in Safe Men is pathetic on some level, but first-time writer-director John Hamburg grants even his least significant characters a humanity that gives the film a sort of warm, fuzzy glow.
Songs from the film
|Title||Performed by||Written by|
|"Can You Get That"||Funkadelic||George Clinton, Ernie Harris|
|"Hole In The Wall"||The Packers||Nathaniel Nathan, Steve Cooper, Al Jackson, Booker T. Jones|
|"Bring It Home Daddy"||Ted Hawkins||Ted Hawkins|
|"Chains & Things"||B.B. King||B.B. King, Dave Clark|
|"Jesus Is Waiting"||Al Green||Al Green|
|"More Mess On My Thing"||The New Process||Whitefield, Baral, Whitefield|
|"Baby Come Back"||Player||Peter Beckett, John Charles Crowley|
|"Shake Your Thing"||E.U.||Rudolph, Ronald, and O'Kelly Isley|
|"Tell Me Something Good"||Rufus & Chaka Khan||Stevie Wonder|
|"It's Your Thing"||Andy Mauro||Rudolph, Ronald, and O'Kelly Isley|
|"Bust a Move"||Young MC||Michael Ross, Matt Dike, Marvin Young|
|"Got To Be Real"||Cheryl Lynn||Cheryl Lynn, David Paich, David Foster|
|"Car Wash"||Rose Royce||Norman Whitfield|
|"Sirius"||Alan Parsons Project||Alan Parsons, Eric Woolfson|
|"All Out Of Love"||Air Supply||Graham Russel, Clive Davis|
|"Shake Your Groove Thing"||Peaches & Herb||Fredrick Perren, Dino Fekaris|
The movie was released on DVD on August 15, 2006 with new commentary features and a Hamburg short film about independently contracted bomb defusers.
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (August 7, 1998). "Can't Sing? No Problem. How About Safecracking?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- Ebert, Roger (August 7, 1998). "Safe Men". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- LaSalle, Mick (August 7, 1998). "Bumbling Safecrackers Save Weak Film". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- Rabin, Nathan (March 29, 2002). "Safe Men". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
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