Safe Men

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Safe Men
VHS cover
Directed byJohn Hamburg
Written byJohn Hamburg
Produced byEllen Bronfman
StarringSam Rockwell
Steve Zahn
Harvey Fierstein
Michael Lerner
Paul Giamatti
CinematographyMichael Barrett
Edited bySuzanne Pillsbury
M. Scott Smith
Music byTheodore Shapiro
Distributed byOctober Films
Release date
  • August 7, 1998 (1998-08-07) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes
Budget$1 million
Box office$45,724

Safe Men is a 1998 American criminal comedy film written and directed by John Hamburg (in his directorial debut), and starring Sam Rockwell and Steve Zahn as a pair of aspiring lounge singers who are mistaken for ace safe crackers.


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."[1] 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."[2] 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.[3]

In March 2002, The A.V. Club began its review with:[4]

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.[4]

Songs from the film[edit]

Title Performed by Written by
"Can You Get to 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

DVD release[edit]

The movie was released on DVD by Universal Pictures under the Focus Features label on August 15, 2006 with new commentary features and Tick, a short film by John Hamburg about independently contracted bomb defusers starring Michael Showalter.

Mill Creek Entertainment released the Blu-ray version on July 12, 2022.


  1. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (August 7, 1998). "Can't Sing? No Problem. How About Safecracking?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 7, 1998). "Safe Men". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  3. ^ LaSalle, Mick (August 7, 1998). "Bumbling Safecrackers Save Weak Film". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  4. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (March 29, 2002). "Safe Men". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2010-04-07.

External links[edit]