Tin Men [1987]

Genre: Comedy, Drama
Tin Men, the second in Barry Levinson's ongoing film series about his native Baltimore in the 1950s and '60s, focuses on a pair of competing aluminum-siding salesman at a point when the industry was loaded with scam artists. Richard Dreyfuss and Danny DeVito play rivals who get involved in a fender-bender that quickly escalates from a minor argument into an all-out war, as they begin pulling practical jokes on each other. Dreyfuss takes it too far, however, when he sets out to seduce DeVito's unhappy wife (Barbara Hershey) and winds up falling in love with her. Much of the humor here comes from Levinson's keen ear as writer and director for the way these people talk--and what they talk about (like the discussion of why four men are living together without women on the Ponderosa in Bonanza). Beside the leads, the cast includes a great host of character actors, including Jackie Gayle, Bruno Kirby, John Mahoney, and J.T. Walsh. Others in Levinson's body of Baltimore films are Diner, Avalon, and the most recent, Liberty Heights. --Marshall Fine

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