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Film / For Richer or Poorer

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For Richer or Poorer is a 1997 comedy film directed by Bryan Spicer, starring Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley.

Living the high life is anything but happy for rich New Yorkers Brad and Caroline Sexton. Brad's career is a joke, making amusement parks out of unsuitable subjects, and Caroline has become a jaded socialite. After their disastrous tenth anniversary party, they decide it's time to get a divorce. However, the next day an IRS agent shows up, looking for a missing $5 million in back taxes. To stay out of prison, the Sextons flee the city and find refuge in the last place anyone would look for them — with the Amish.


Provides Examples of:

  • American Gothic Couple: Parodied on the poster.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Chekhov's Gun: The real estate sign that keeps getting knocked over by the pond.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Brad's real estate knowledge and Caroline's abandoned fashion career.
  • Cowboy Cop: Inspector Lester sure behaves like one. His gigantic revolver sure isn't standard issue for a government agent at all, let alone one working for the IRS.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: The Amish community, despite being made up of quite intelligent people, seem unusually willing to dismiss the frequent lapses in Brad and Caroline's deceipt. The reason? They were never fooled for a minute, but if these two idiots want to do labor for free during planting season might as well play along.
  • Hand Cannon: Inspector Lester carries one and is itching to use it on Brad.
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  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Inspector Lester of the IRS is a Knight Templar Cowboy Cop who establishes his credentials as a major threat by trying to shoot Brad as a "hostile suspect" (Brad had a phone in his hand).
  • Knight Templar: Inspector Lester
  • Planet of Steves: All of Samuel's sons are named some version of his name (Sam, Sampson, Sammy etc).
  • Plot Twist: Turns out the Yoders knew all along that Brad and Caroline weren't really their cousins.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Brad and Caroline save their marriage while hiding from the authorities inside an Amish community. When they are cleared, they thank the guy who framed them.
  • Rich Bitch: Caroline
  • Right Through the Wall: Despite long, tiring work-filled days, their hosts provide rigorous, squeaky-springed sound effects almost every night.
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Running Gag: That same cow keeps getting in the road at inconvenient times.
    • And Grandpa waking them up at 4:45 sharp every morning.
  • Second-Face Smoke: Caroline does this to Brad during their argument at the beginning of the film.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet!: Brad pulls out a phone when he steps out of a car to be met by cops. One cop shoots the phone, believing it to be a gun.
  • Shout-Out: To the American Gothic painting.
  • Stock Foreign Name: All the Amish characters have typical Amish Biblical names.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "She hasn't 'opened her barn door' for me in a long time."
  • Visual Pun: In the first act, Brad hides behind Wall Street's famous bull statue to try not to get shot, and spends a significant amount of time with his head perfectly aligned with the place where the bull's anus would be. While hiding, he says "this is bullshit".


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