Just when you thought Randy Quaid was never going to show his mug on the big screen again, he crawls out of his camper and into a mobster's costume as the one man John Cusack's character Charlie Arglist would be better off never seeing again. You see Charlie is a lawyer for the local mobs in the greater Wichita vicinity, which gives him opportunities to take a little money behind the backs of his bosses every now and again. This time, however, he takes Billy Bob Thorton under his wing and the two have somehow finagled more than $2 million from Quaid with the high hopes he'll never be the wiser. Of course, what kind of movie would it make if he wasn't? You didn't think you could outfox Cousin Eddie did ya?
There didn't seem to be too much hype for this flick, which is a tad bit surprising considering director Harold Ramis also claims the fame for such wonders as "Cadyshack" and "National Lampoon's Vacation," which most likely explains the casting of Quaid. Fear not though, he's not drunkenly flying into any alien spaceships this time around and really does a fantastic job at mobster life. The same goes for all the acting in the flick, with Thorton and Cusack delivering stand up performances, and Oliver Platt's role as drinking buddy number one topping it all off. If a grown man getting dragged out of a bar by an irate boyfriend just to stand up and complain about how his tummy is scratched doesn't squeeze a smile, you're in no condition to be at the movies.
The story takes place in a whopping 12 hours or so from the time they snag the dough, through an ice-storm ridden night in Kansas full of blood, bullets and booze to the not so happy ending come sunrise. If what happens in the duration of this evening is any sign of what's to come after jacking your boss of $2 mill you mustn't even bother asking me; not gonna happen. From a large man locked in a metal box, to finger chops to post-mortem spouse bleeding on the Christmas presents, Charlie puts himself through quite the amount of unnecessary drama.
If you're looking for a fun Christmas flick with all the problems that could arise from embezzlement put on the table, check out "The Ice Harvest." Don't expect anything terribly unexpected and certainly don't expect to be forced to think outside the box on this one. It's an upfront, go with the flow and wonder why the main guys are such idiots flick, and it just so happens to be quite an entertaining way to spend five bucks and an hour and a half of your afternoon.
3.5 out of 5 ramheads if you will