- Movie Rating -

Million Dollar Mystery (1987)

| June 12, 1987

It’s funny, I just noted in my review of Predator how short I imagined the pitch meeting to have been.  With Million Dollar Mystery I imagine just as much time was spent talking about the film and another, much longer meeting was spent working on the contest that goes along with it.  Maybe you’ve heard of this, but if you haven’t here’ goes: producer Dino de Laurentis (ironically a man who has a reputation for losing money on his films) has apparently hidden a million dollars somewhere in the United States, and the location can be found using clues littered throughout the film.  That begs a unique question.  How bad a movie are you willing to sit through to have a slim-to-none chance of getting your hands on that kind of cash.

For me, it’s really asking too much, and it is also a little pointless since you don’t actually have to see the film to find the money anyway.  The clues come in boxes of Glad Bags, cheerfully hawked by Tom Bosley in those television commercials and also appears in the film.  Inside the box is a scratch-off card that gives you a chance to get a $25,000 instant win or possibly a thanks-for-nothing coupon on your next purchase.

So, how is the movie outside of the contest?  Well, it doesn’t really matter, none of it does.  It is a limp remake of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World involving a bunch of misfits at a roadside truck stop who are witnesses when a man (Bosley) staggers in and with more energy than should be possible helpfully explains his situation: He is Sidney Preston and he explains that the $4 million dollars is what remains of a massive payoff that he stole for himself and stowed away (in Glad Handle-Tie bags, no less), a million dollars in four different bags in four different locations.  Three of these bundles are located by the folks in the film, leaving you the weary moviegoer to locate the missing bag.

One of the massive clues is that the money is stashed in bridges, most prominently London Bridge, but its not effectively clever either way.  As a comedy, the movie approaches the kind of trashy pallor of the Police Academy movies with a lot of rude and crude people doing unfunny stuff in unfunny locations.  Although the scene where the couple wanders into the office of a private eye who is in black and white and talks like a character out of Mickey Spillane was kind of cute.

I’ve seen the movie and I’ve bought the product (I felt it was necessary) and while I didn’t necessarily need a Glad Bag right then and there I’m sure I’ll need it soon enough.  I can say that I won’t need it to toss out all of the cards I’m going to be buying while looking for the money.  I have no idea where the money is hidden either by the clues in the movie or in the product and I really don’t care.  I’ll just leave this one on the shelf and move on with my day.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1987) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy