The bank robbery was easy. But getting out of New York was a nightmare.Quick Change
is a sadly-overlooked 1990 film based on the novel by Jay Cronley
and starring and co-directed by Bill Murray
, in which his character Grimm and his compatriots Phyllis (Geena Davis) and Loomis (Randy Quaid) successfully pull off the ingenious robbery of a New York City
bank, but then find themselves relentlessly thwarted in their attempt(s) to get to the airport and escape the country. Meanwhile, the dogged veteran cop who takes charge of their case (Jason Robard) isn't having such a great day himself..
A con-artist does make a brief appearance, but he does not run the scam of the same name
. The movie is still darned funny.
This is the second time Cronley's book was adapted as a film. In 1985, Hold-Up
was released, starring French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.
This film contains examples of:
- Asshole Victim: The yuppie among the bank hostages
- Bank Robbery
- Becoming the Mask: Phyllis starts to worry that Grimm is settling into the role of ruthlessly manipulative criminal mastermind a bit too comfortably.
- Big Applesauce: A particularly cynical depiction.
- The Big Rotten Apple: Grimm hates New York City with a passion, and judging by all the trouble he and his friends go through, New York City returns the favour.
- Bittersweet Ending: For Rotzinger; the armed robbers he was chasing throughout the movie got away, but he manages to nab an elusive and feared mafioso instead as a consolation prize.
- Bob & Ray: Bob Elliot appears as the bank guard
- Cannot Spit It Out: Phyllis finds great difficulty in telling Grimm that she's pregnant.
- The Chew Toy: Quaid's character
- Click Hello: Leave it to Bill Murray to Deadpan Snark this Trope, too.
Mafioso: That ain't my dick in your back.
Well, that's a relief.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Everyone on the bus. Especially the odd guitar-wearing hippie who tries to get on the bus.
- Crapsack World: Queens. The Big Rotten Apple indeed, as it seems the main reason Grimm robbed a bank is that he can't stand living in New York anymore.
- Crazy-Prepared: Grimm. It doesn't help.
- Deadpan Snarker: It's Bill Murray. Of course there's one.
Security Guard: (seeing the dynamite) What the hell kind of clown are you?!
Grimm: (deadpan) The "crying on the inside" kind, I guess.
- Disguised Hostage Gambit: Police Chief Ratzinger thinks Grimm will dress some of the hostages as clowns and take them out to the vehicles in a group so police snipers can't target him. Grimm actually has something else in mind: He and two confederates inside the bank will pretend to be released hostages (with the cash taped to their bodies under their civilian clothes) and escape while the cops are concentrating on the bank.
- Failing a Taxi
Loomis: (screaming at an off-duty cab) $10,000 for a taxi!
Phyliss: And a blowjob!
- Fake Nationality: A memorable Tony Shalhoub
- Funny Background Event: A lot. For example, while Grimm is talking down a suspicious yuppie couple, Loomis and Phyllis are aghast as the New York Fire Department is wrecking their getaway car because it was foolishly parked in front of a fire hydrant because they felt they could afford the fine for doing so.
- Genre Savvy:
- Grimm has clearly thought quite long and hard about how to pull off a foolproof bank robbery (without anyone getting hurt, no less) and knows exactly how the police are likely to act at any given point. It's just a shame that he didn't put as much thought into how the getaway might go wrong...
- Rotzinger in turn is pretty savvy about things, although he finds himself getting wired crossed as the evening progresses.
- Gentle Giant: Loomis, who is the biggest of the three bank robbers but is ultimately something of a wimpy crybaby, albeit a sweet-natured one.
- Hero Antagonist: Rotzinger.
- Large Ham:
- Grimm is mostly matter-of-fact and deadpan throughout the movie, but when he's on the phone to Rotzinger and playing himself up as an Ax-Crazy maniac, he takes the opportunity to chew the scenery a bit.
- The flower seller. "Flores para los muertos! Los muertos! LOS MUEEEEEERTOOOOOS!"
- Lawful Stupid: The bus driver, oh so very much.
Bus Driver: BEHIND THE WHITE LINE!!!
- Lovable Coward: Loomis, oh so much. For example, when an elderly flower seller is screaming "Flores por los muertes!", on a deserted street-corner, in the middle of the night, very very dramatically:
Loomis: What does that mean anyway? "Flores por los muertes"?
- The Mafia
- Monster Clown: At least as far as the bank-hostages are concerned.
- Motorcycle Jousting: In a variant, Quick Change gives us a bizarre (and apparently lethal) bicycle jousting scene. Loomis panics and yells that "it's bad luck just seeing a thing like that!"
- My Secret Pregnancy
- Never Live It Down: In-universe; Loomis' frequent response whenever Grimm gets annoyed with him is to immediately beg Grimm not to hit him. At one point Grimm, perplexed, asks Loomis why he does this, since Grimm hasn't hit anyone since he was six years old. Loomis replies that it was him that Grimm hit that time.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero (or Nice Job Fixing It, Villain, depending on your perspective): Loomis honked the fucking car horn. Grimm states he could have had the police paralyzed for hours thinking he was still in the bank holding the hostages, even after they successfully got away.
- Not So Different: One gets the feeling that Grimm and Rotzinger would actually get along quite well if it wasn't for the latter chasing the former for armed robbery.
- One-Book Author: The sole directing credit of Bill Murray's career.
- The Perfect Crime: The getaway, on the other hand...
- Precision F-Strike:
Phyllis: (comforting Loomis on her lap) None of this is your fault... (slaps him) Except you honked the fucking car horn.
- Road Sign Reversal
- Refuge in Audacity: How Grimm deals with some mobsters.
- Retirony: Averted with Rotzinger.
- Sad Clown: The "crying-on-the-inside" type, according to Grimm.
- Self-Serving Memory: The bank security guard becomes a lot more competent and heroic in dealing with the robbers when telling the police about it retroactively.
- "Flores por los muertes!" is a direct reference to A Streetcar Named Desire.
- Quaid's character was named as a reference to Halloween. It was something else in the book.
- Sick and Wrong: Loomis on seeing the bizarre jousting ceremony.
Loomis: It's bad luck just seeing a thing like that!
- A Simple Plan: The robbery itself is quite intricate and well-thought out, and goes off without a hitch. The getaway is A Simple Plan of the three essentially driving to the airport. It doesn't work out that way.
- Sympathetic Criminal: Okay, they're robbing a bank and they don't really have any grand ulterior motive for it, but Grimm and his friends are otherwise really likeable, decent and good-hearted people.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Rotzinger's burnt-out, taken-for-granted and basically wondering exactly why he's doing his job. His cynical and world-weary view of his life and the city he lives in isn't so far removed from Grimm's.
- Trouser Space/ Victoria's Secret Compartment: The thieves (two men and a woman) hide the stolen money by duct-taping it to their underwear (and have to hope that they don't get strip-searched).
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The customers and workers in the back barely register a flicker of interest at the sight of a clown with a gun and dynamite strapped to him walking into the bank and announcing that he's robbing it:
Grimm: This is a robbery!
[No one gives him the slightest bit of attention]
Grimm: [To the guard] ...Can you believe this? [To everyone]] This is a robbery!
Guard: It is!
[No one pays attention again. Exasperated, Grimm lets go of his balloons and shoots one. That gets a response.]
- Wangst: Loomis. During the heist, it comes in real handy ("Let's see Ms. Meryl Streep vomit on cue, huh?"), but during the getaway? Not so much.
- Wham Line:
Rotzinger: Hey, we gotta commend this Skipowski... I mean, Chipowski.
(Cue startled realization, as Rotzinger looks up at the plane taking off.)