Priest: You committed adultery?
Joey Boca: Yes.
Priest: How many times?
Joey Boca: Uh... Five times the last two weeks... wait, no, that's wrong... it was uh... it was uh, four times this week, uh... with three women, and, uh... three times last week with two other women... wow... plus one of the women from this week was the same as last week... or maybe two of the women was the same... so, uh... I guess that, uh... makes, uh... what, uh... I dunno, seven times... I mean it was more than uh... seven times, Father, it was, it was more like, uh... ten or twelve times but, you know, it was like on, uh... seven different occasions, uh... only with five different women, uh... uh... but, uh... some of the women eh... more than once uh... some of them, quite a few times uh... in fact uh... it's hard to say, Father, I... I didn't exactly keep count, but, uh... uh, let let's say a dozen times in the last two weeks, uh... give or take a few times...
Joey Boca (Kline) lives with his wife Rosalie (Ullman) in Tacoma, Washington. They earn a modest living running a pizzeria, with Joey making a few bucks on the side as a handyman. Unfortunately, money's not the only thing Joey is getting on the side. Rosalie finds out that he's been cheating on her with several of his clients. Devastated, she vows to get back at him. As a devout Catholic, divorce is out of the question. Murder, on the other hand ...
Hilarity Ensues when Joey proves harder to kill than anticipated, while remaining blissfully unaware that anyone is trying to kill him. Rosalie is aided in her attempts by her tough-as-nails Yugoslavian mother Nadja (Plowright), devoted busboy with a crush Devo (Phoenix), and drug addicts-turned-impromptu hitmen Harlan (Hurt) and Marlon (Reeves).
The film contains examples of:
- The Casanova: As seen above, Joey Really Gets Around.
- Dirty Communists: Invoked by Harlan and Marlon. They may be performing murder for hire, but they're getting paid, which makes them better than Commies.
- Foreign-Language Tirade:
- Joey confesses to using one against his mother-in-law, but justifies it since it was in Italian and she couldn't understand it, so it's technically not a sin. The priest considers for a moment and declares "Oh no, it counts."
- Happens when the mother-in-law in question starts chewing him out in Serbo-Croatian, while being chewed out in Italian, with Rosalie (the only one who can understand both but is the target of neither) sits in the middle and tries to get them both to stop in English.
- Made of Iron: Joey is beaten, poisoned, and shot, but is still up for a game of Monopoly. In fact, shooting him in the head only wakes him up from his poisoning (and it turns out being fed two bottles of sleeping pills slows his bleeding down enough that he doesn't bleed out from the two gunshot wounds). When asked how he feels, he only claims to have a bit of a headache due to a virus.
- Too Dumb to Live: Marlon. Harlan is no genius, but his cousin has to be constantly reminded who Joey is and why they're there.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Inspired by the actual case of the Toto's, a Pennsylvanian couple where, in 1984, the husband was poisoned and shot by his wife. He spent four days in bed before being discovered. They later reconciled and did the TV interview circuit: him from the studio and her from prison.
- Woman Scorned: Rosalie was a perfectly nice and normal person until she found out her husband was banging half the neighborhood.
- Hey giiirrrrrllllsss ... Mono-polyyyyyy...