The Money Pit
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|The Money Pit|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Benjamin|
|Produced by||Kathleen Kennedy
|Written by||David Giler|
|Music by||Michel Colombier|
|Edited by||Jacqueline Cambas|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The Money Pit is a 1986 American comedy film directed by Richard Benjamin starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as a couple who attempt to renovate a recently purchased house. It was filmed in New York City and Lattingtown, New York and is a remake of the 1948 film Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. The film was co-executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
Attorney Walter Fielding (Tom Hanks) and his girlfriend Anna Crowley (Shelley Long) learn of Walter Sr.'s wedding in Rio de Janeiro shortly after fleeing the country for embezzling millions of dollars from their musician clients. The next morning, the couple is told they need to vacate the apartment they are subletting from Anna's ex-husband, Max Beissart (Alexander Godunov), a self-absorbed conductor who has returned early from Europe.
Through an unscrupulous real estate agent friend, Walter learns about a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000. He and Anna meet the owner, Estelle (Maureen Stapleton), who claims she must sell it quickly because her husband Carlos (John van Dreelen) has been arrested by the Israelis, having been accused of being Adolf Hitler's pool boy. Her sob story and insistence of keeping the place in candlelight in order to save money "for the goddamn, bloodsucking lawyers" distracts Walter and enchants Anna, who finds it romantic. They decide to buy it, but Anna insists on putting up half of the money needed for the repairs. She turns to Max for her half by selling him back what she got in their divorce. Walter gets his half from his wealthiest client.
From the moment Walter and Anna take possession of the house, it quickly begins to fall apart. Amongst other problems, the entire front door frame rips out of the wall, the main staircase collapses, the plumbing is found to be full of gunk, the electrical system catches fire, the bathtub crashes through the floor, the chimney collapses, as well as a raccoon invades the dumbwaiter.
Contractors Art (Joe Mantegna) and Brad Shirk (Carmine Caridi) are called in (the only construction company who is willing to take on the work), who summarily tear the house to pieces using Walter's $5,000 down payment, leaving the couple embroiled in bureaucracy to secure the necessary building permits to complete the work. Walter continuing frustration at the escalating costs of restoring the house leads him to brand the house a "money pit", whilst the Shirks continue to assure him that the work will take "two weeks".
The repair work continues for a grueling four months and the couple realizes they need more money to complete the renovations. Anna attempts to secure additional funds from Max by selling him some artwork she received in their divorce. Although he doesn't care about the painting, he agrees to the purchase. He wines and dines her and the next morning allows her to believe as she has woken up in his bed, that she has cheated on Walter: however, in reality, Max slept on the couch. Walter later asks her point-blank if she slept with Max, but she hastily denies it. Walter's suspicions push her to admit that she did so, but the damage is done. She later confides in Max that, "He (Walter) can't forgive me and I can't forgive him for that."
Due to Walter's and Anna's stubbornness, their relationship becomes more and more hostile and in a rare moment of agreement, they vow to sell the house once it is restored and split the proceeds. This nearly happens, but Walter misses Anna and says he loves her even if she did sleep with Max. She happily tells him that she did not and they reconcile. In the end, they are married in front of their newly repaired house.
The movie ends with a cutaway back to Rio de Janeiro, where Estelle and Carlos — now revealed to be con artists — are taking a cash-filled briefcase from Walter Sr. and his new bride, for another mansion which presumably is in also in a state of severe disrepair.
- Tom Hanks as Walter Fielding, Jr.
- Shelley Long as Anna Crowley
- Alexander Godunov as Max Beissart, the Maestro
- Maureen Stapleton as Estelle
- Joe Mantegna as Art Shirk
- Philip Bosco as Curly
- Josh Mostel as Jack Schnittman
- Yakov Smirnoff as Shatov
- Carmine Caridi as Brad Shirk
- Brian Backer as Ethan
- Mia Dillon as Marika
- John van Dreelen as Carlos
- Douglass Watson as Walter Fielding Sr.
- Tetchie Agbayani as Florinda Fielding
- Michael Jeter as Arnie
The film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator website, reports that 47% of critics have given the film a positive review, based on 19 reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10.
Home media release
The movie is available, as part of a three-movie package on DVD, called Tom Hanks Comedy Favorites Collection. It comes along with The 'Burbs and Dragnet (1987 film), and is released by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. All movies are in anamorphic widescreen format.
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- The Money Pit at the Internet Movie Database
- The Money Pit at AllMovie
- The Money Pit at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Money Pit at Box Office Mojo