Quick Change is a 1990 comedy film based on the novel by Jay Cronley, starring Bill Murray, co-directed by Murray and Howard Franklin.
Murray stars as Grimm, a burnt-out New Yorker, who conspires with his friends Phyllis (Geena Davis) and Loomis (Randy Quaid) to successfully pull off the ingenious robbery of a New York City bank. But then they find themselves relentlessly thwarted in their attempts to get to the airport and escape the country. Meanwhile, the dogged veteran cop who takes charge of their case (Jason Robards) 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.
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: It goes flawlessly. The getaway however...
- 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.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked In-Universe, as none of the trio can fathom what in the world that bicycle joust was all about. Loomis is particularly disturbed (see Sick And Wrong).
- The Big Rotten Apple: Grimm hates New York City with a passion (or what he feels the city is becoming, at least). And judging by all the trouble he and his friends go through, New York City returns the favor.Stewardess: You think you're late enough?
Grimm: Oh, you must be from around here.
- 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.
- Buses Are for Freaks: "Behind the white line!"
- Buxom Is Better: Phyllis pads her bra to make Grimm!Clown lust after her. Later, she uses it to smuggle the money out.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Phyllis finds great difficulty in telling Grimm that she's pregnant.
- The Cameo: Bob Elliot appears as the bank guard.
- The Caper: Kind of a subversion, in that it's mainly about the aftermath.
- 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.
Grimm: (beat) 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. (Basically, Grimm is an architect and classically built buildings (for some reason aren't designated historical landmarks) are being torn down.
- 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.
- Phyllis gets in a few good ones.Loomis: Was that our plane?
Phyllis: No, no. If it were our plane, it'd be crashing.
- It's Bill Murray. Of course there's one.
- 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.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:Lt. Jameson: Chief, The Peruvian Connection. The Subway Psycho? The people are gonna remember what you've done. What's so memorable about a clown stealing a million dollars?
(Rotzinger gives him a look.)
Lt. Jameson: Jesus, we gotta get this guy!
- Failing a TaxiLoomis: (screaming at an off-duty cab) $10,000 for a taxi!
Phyliss: And a blowjob!
- Funny Background Event:
- 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, which they parked in front of a fire hydrant because they felt they could afford the fine for doing so.
- At the airport, while Rotzinger and his underlings are strategising how to arrest the bank robbers, through the window we see the robbers being ferried into the airport via a baggage truck.
- 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.
- Gilligan Cut:Rotzinger: Three of them! Laughing with glee!
(cut to the trio desperately trying to hail a cab)
- Hero Antagonist: Rotzinger, the policeman trying to catch our bank-robbing protagonists.
- Indy Ploy: Fortunately, Grimm is good at Xanatos Speed Chess.
- Ironic Echo:
- When covering the hostage situation at the bank, Rotzinger mutters in exasperation, "Who called the media?!" At the end, Rotzinger, as he's taking in the Don of a Mafia family, quizzically asks, "Who called the media?" His assistant replies, "I did."
- To underscore how they are Not So Different, successive scenes feature Grimm and Rotzinger mournfully looking at an old building that's about to be torn down and rue how the New York skyline is getting uglier.
- 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. The hardest part of dealing with him is that he demands exact change for the bus fare, rejecting Grimm's bill even when Grimm insists that he can keep the change (he does gives Grimm the chance to go get it, but Grimm has exactly two minutes to do so (and the driver will spare not one more second), forcing him to run for it).
- The Load: Loomis isn't incredibly useful; he's hysterical and whiny, he's the one who honks the horn that alerts the cops that the robbers are no longer in the bank, almost everything he does after the robbers escape the bank screws something up and risks capture, and after he gets injured Grimm and Phyllis are pretty much forced to carry him everywhere. Even during the robbery, his main purpose is to act cowardly in order to annoy the other hostages enough that he gets kicked out of the bank first, thus allowing him to transport some of the money out.
- Lovable Coward: Loomis, oh so much. For example, when an elderly flower seller is screaming "Flores para los muertos!", on a deserted street-corner, in the middle of the night, very very dramatically:Grimm: There must be alot of competition for that corner.
Phyllis: It's a good thing she's not too symbolic or anything.
Loomis: What does that mean anyway? "Flores por los muertes"?
Grimm: I sure couldn't tell ya'.
Phyllis: Aw, you know Grimm, it means flowers for the dead.
(Cue a Death Glare from Genre Savvy Grimm aimed at Phyllis.)
Loomis: (beat) Oh! We're all gonna die! We're a-a-a-ll gonna d-i-i-e!
- The Mafia: One of the many obstacles in the getaway is Grimm and his friends running into a mafioso meet-up. Grimm manages to convince them that he's a mafioso himself to prevent a potential witness slaying (with him as one of the "witnesses").
- Money Is Not Power: The bank robbery has a rich yuppie as one of the hostages, and he tries to buy his way out (or at least getting preferential treatment) with his super-expensive watch and promising to pay up. Grimm doesn't care. This same trope happens to him later on when he can't convince the bus driver to accept the hefty bill he's trying to pay the bus fare with, forcing him to race to a nearby store (and dodge the cops) so he can get exact change.
- 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: Phyllis.
- 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.
- Now You Tell Me: At the airport, when Phyllis is getting cold feet about running away with Grimm, Grimm panics and basically tries to bully her into it by lecturing her at length about how horrible the New York prison system is particularly for a pregnant mother. When Loomis chides him for it afterwards, he claims that it was the only way to ensure that she fled with them. Loomis coldly points out that Grimm telling Phyllis that he loved her might have been a better approach.Grimm: Oh Jesus, Loomis. Now you tell me.
- 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.
- The Scrappy: In-Universe, Phyllis and Loomis make themselves into one so the other hostages demand they be the ones to be released first.
- 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.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Grimm!Clown pretends to be one.Grimm!Clown: The cameras... they were looking at me. (to security camera) QUIT LOOKING AT ME! (shoots it)
- "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.
- The bank robbery, hostage scenario, and the not-so-simple act of making a getaway could be seen as a reference to the similar story of Dog Day Afternoon.
- 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 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.
- This Is Going to Suck: "Do not come into the bank, he is covered in dynamite." (Although they're actually just road flares.)
- Title Drop: A visual one: one of the climactic sequences is Grimm running to a store near the bus stop to gather exact change for the bus fare because the bus driver is such a hard-core stickler to the rules that he will not let Grimm and his companions ride without it (and he is about to take off in two minutes exactly, to boot).
- 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!
[Still no one pays attention. Exasperated, Grimm lets go of his balloons and shoots one. That gets a response.]
- Grimm in his bulky clown outfit and numerous balloons are just one more hassle New York straphangers have to deal with.
- 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:
- Villain Protagonist: Our protagonists are in general terms quite decent and likeable people, but they still robbed a bank.
- 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.
- Grimm also plays a whiny hostage. "He said 'Up your nut with a coconut'! But I saw no coconut. There was no coconut."
- Wham Line:Rotzinger: Hey, we gotta commend this Skipowski... I mean, Chipowski.
(Cue startled realization, as Rotzinger looks up at the plane taking off.)