Long before he was unearthing the truth behind the Bible’s mysteries, getting cast away by Robert Zemeckis and dealing with being left behind by Andy, Tom Hanks was already one of Hollywood’s most promising bright young things.
Hanks’s prowess shines in Spielberg-produced The Money Pit. Starring as Walter Fielding Jr., Hanks meets his match in an unlikely nemesis. After fiancé Anna (Shelley Long)’s ex-husband returns home the two find themselves homeless. When a mansion appears on their horizon neither of them can believe their luck at the asking price. Little do they know that hours after snapping up the deal they’d find their house slowly crumbling to the ground before their eyes.
Amidst the visual gags (of which there are many) Long and Hanks excel. Pushing their exasperation to breaking point, the house provides the film with a silent third lead. Hanks’s reactions to his increasingly dilapidated house are priceless, his wits being tested by the collapse of the grand staircase, the bath tub falling through the floor and, perhaps funniest of all (for us, at least), when he falls through the floor.
The Money Pit is not exactly a taxing watch. With a simple premise, likeable characters and an unlikely succession of bad luck, it’s simply great entertainment. It may not quite live up to other Hanks classics (we look here to Big in particular) but its great fun nonetheless. The film toys with the idea of taking itself seriously (with the pair facing a nasty break-up) but thanks to the deliverance of the dialogue and the ever-present ramshackle house it never veers to far off its comedic course.
The gaggle of builders that slowly crowd into the couple’s life flesh out the otherwise one dimensional film helping to squeeze extra laughs out as well as providing the two with sparring partners. A must-watch for comedy fans, The money pit is a much over-looked comedy great.
Best line: Walter – ‘Hahahahaa’ (upon seeing the hole left by the bath tub).