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Mixed Nuts (1994)

by on 2011/12/12

“These are burlap, which are really itchy, unless you are dead.”

* * *

If you want to see the corpse of Garry Shandling dressed as a Christmas tree, Mixed Nuts is your movie.

More accurately, Shandling  plays a landlord who is shot in the face, swaddled in burlap and then dressed as a Christmas tree.

Did I mention he’s shot in the face with Santa’s gun? Or rather a gun brought to Christmas dinner by Anthony LaPaglia (Innocent Blood) dressed in a filthy Santa suit, who while waving a gun around, shoots a transvestite in the foot.

Wearing red crushed-velvet smoking jacket, Steve Martin (Roxanne) does it with Rita Wilson by a toilet. Spandex-clad Parker Posey and John Stewart (A Colbert Christmas) rollerblade down a beach boardwalk carrying a Christmas tree. Repeatedly.

Then a pregnant Juliette Lewis (From Dusk Till Dawn) has a baby in a manger.

This certifiable film, written and director by Nora Ephron, is just jam-packed with er, holiday miracles.

Actually it is a bit of a stretch to call this a movie. It is more a series of eccentric vignettes. Vignettes wearing jingle bells and flashing Christmas lights.

That’s not say I didn’t enjoy it. I really did.

It was like watching some of my favourite comedic actors doing a holiday pageant just for me. And they are all drunk. Very drunk. Or in the case of Adam Sandler (50 First Dates) very stoned. Yes, Adam Sandler is in it too, as a charming simpleton who plays yukele songs. He’s adorable.

Strapping, serious, Liev Schrieber plays the wounded transvestite. He’s strangely attractive in pantyhose and red lipstick. He even brings a quiet dignity to the line, “My God, if you don’t have tits like Dolly Parton, no one wants you.”

The plot,  if we can the filmsy thread of tinsel that connects the disjointed events of Mixed Nuts, is that Philip’s (Martin) crisis help line business is in deep financial trouble. He’s about to be evicted and it is Christmas.

He’s sweet in the way only a Steve Martin character can be – but he really isn’t much of a counsellor.

Try this chestnut on for size:

“Just remember that in every pothole there is hope. Well, you see, pothole is spelled P-O-T-H-O-L-E. So if you take the P, and add it to the H, the O, and the E, and rearrange the letters… or contrariwise, you remove the O, T, and the L, you get “hope”. So, just remember, in every pothole there is hope! ”

Awkward but sweet.

And that’s a decent way to sum up Mixed Nuts.

* * *

97 minutes

Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor

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