Not a fan of Nora Ephron? Well, she hasn’t exactly been knocking them out of the park, lately. What with Bewitched and some fairly weak romantic comedies, it seems like she’s just fallen into a habit of trying to repeat the success of When Harry Met Sally by simply ripping herself off. However, there was a time when Ephron was still willing to push the boundaries of what she was capable of as a writer and create new films, not tired rehashes. My Blue Heaven is one of her best. Give it a try next time you want to download movies.

Steve Martin and Rick Moranis star as, respectively, a member of the Italian mafia, and the FBI agent assigned to protect him until he can testify. Martin is shipped to a picturesque small town and, yes, it’s just another fish out of water movie, but it’s very well done this time, very funny, and when it comes down to it, an old, cliche story is fine so long as it’s done properly.

The movie is funny, and that’s what it really comes down to in a comedy. Steve Martin is really at his best here, as is Moranis, and even some jokes that should, by all rights, fall flat, wind up providing some of the biggest laughs of the film. It’s your standard odd couple story, Martin is morally ambiguous, Moranis is uptight, but it works well, these two skilled actors make it feel fresh and new.

Martin quickly takes over the little town he’s been sent to and starts his own thing. He meets a few other protected witnesses, they decide that they’re not getting enough from the government, and they start hijacking trucks and forming their own little mini-mafia in their friendly little town. Watching these old goombas take the town over is really delightful, watching Steve Martin talk his way out of trouble is even better.

The movie does get directly involved in some violent stuff later on, but it never gets ugly, it’s always funny and never unpleasant.

One of the movie’s other big sources of laughter comes from Steve Martin’s philandering. He starts the movie with a wife, gets a girlfriend, and then gets another girlfriend. It’s a lot of fun watching him effortlessly juggle three women. He’s a crook, but such a likable crook that you really don’t hold it against him when he lies, steals and cheats on three women at once.

The movie has a really great look to it. The whole point of the film is the contrast between Martin’s violent, urban upbringing, and the small town friendliness and beauty of his new environs, and the cinematography really does the trick. Martin’s new home is really set in a gorgeous land of blue skies and green hills.

It may or may not be one of the greatest films of all time or anything like that, but it’s very funny, Martin and Moranis are in top form, and Ephron proves once more that, when she has a fun idea, she can still write a great comedy film, even if she doesn’t always feel like it.

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