When creative-writing teacher Larry (Crystal) suggests that Owen (DeVito), dimmest of many dim students, see a Hitchcock movie to learn about motivation and alibi in murder thrillers, he little realises what he's letting himself in for. Owen, whose interpretation of Strangers on a Train leads him to believe that Larry would like him to kill his wife in return for the prof's disposal of Owen's obscenely senile, tyrannical mother, turns Larry's life (already a mess: ever since his wife stole his first novel, he's suffered from writer's block) into an absolute nightmare. A lively black comedy, surprisingly stylishly directed by DeVito (his début), it thankfully soft-pedals on the hysteria front to concentrate on verbal non-sequiturs and quirky characterisation. If it all gets a little soft-centred towards the end, there's more than enough vitality and invention to be going on with.
Cast and crew