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Johnny Dangerously

As goofy as "Airplane" and blessed with Michael Keaton's comic gifts in his prime, 1984's JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY is a lightweight but surprisingly funny comedy.

In Chicago in the 1930's, Keaton's Johnny is a straight laced do-good er who finds himself inside the mob after he saves Mob boss Jocko Dundee (Peter Boyle) as a youth.

Faced with enormous medical bills that keep escalating due to his hilariously hypochondriac Mom (perfectly played by Maureen Stapleton), Johnny rises through the ranks, much to the chagrin of fellow gangster Danny Vermin (Joe Piscopo, haven't heard THAT name in awhile!) and rival gangster Roman Moronie.

Moronie is played by Richard Dimitri at full volume, as a Norm Crosby Malaprop ridden/English is my second language mashup.

Every other word out of his mouth is a failed attempt at profanity, usually calling his foes "fargin iceholes" or "somanumbatching" idiots. Dimitri is hilarious.

By the time the headlines of the spinning newspaper on screen to announce news includes "farging" in the headline, you know you are deep into "The Naked Gun", "throw everything at the wall" style comedy.

And many of the jokes land well, aided by a great cast including Dom Deluise as The Pope, Marilu Henner at Johnny's dame Lil, Griffin Dunne as Johnny's right side of the law brother and Alan Hale Jr (the Skipper of the Minnow) as a police desk sergeant.

Keaton fires jokes like a tommy gun and scores plenty of bulls-eyes, showing off the fast patter and charm that made him an 80's superstar.

Even at 90 minutes long, the jokes start to hit a little less in the second act, showing just how hard it is to do what the Abrams brothers (Airplane, Naked Gun, Top Secret) do so well.

Even so, Johnny is dangerously fast & fun and gets a fargin B-.

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