Diggstown [1992]

For some reason, James Woods seldom does straight comedies, but this 1992 film comes close. Playing Gabriel Caine, a con man fresh out of jail, Woods teams up with aging prizefighter "Honey" Roy Palmer (Louis Gossett Jr.) to run a scam on the boss of Diggstown, John Gillon (Bruce Dern). The bet: that "Honey" Roy can defeat any 10 boxers that Gillon throws at him in 24 hours. A combination of scams and double-crosses ensues, in which Woods, at his motor-mouth best, spars wonderfully (verbally, of course) with both Dern and Gossett. Working with director Michael Ritchie, who thrives in a milieu that involves competition, Woods has fun in an underrated comedy-thriller. It's more The Sting than Raging Bull, and thankfully so. --Marshall Fine

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