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Film / The Linguini Incident

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The Linguini Incident is a 1991 comedy/crime caper directed by Richard Shepherd (who also co-wrote the script with Tamar Brott) starring Rosanna Arquette and David Bowie.

Lucy (Arquette) is a Houdini-obsessed waitress/aspiring escape artiste, desperate for cash to buy Mrs Houdini's wedding ring to add to her already out-of-control memorabilia collection. Monte (Bowie) is a down-on-his-luck British bartender desperate to get married in order to get a Green Card. After some delicate negotiation, Monte agrees to help Lucy rob the New York restaurant (owned by long-time gamblers Cecil and Dante) where they both work, in return for which she agrees to marry him. In need of a third man, they team up with Viv (Eszter Balint), Lucy's best friend, who is a struggling self-defence lingerie designer. Hilarity Ensues.



  • The Bet: Cecil and Dante are constant betters, on everything, usually with high, ridiculous stakes.
  • Caper Rationalization: Lucy convinces Viv to take part in the robbery despite her moral objections by reminding her that Cecil and Dante are “scumbags and tricksters.”
  • Chained to a Bed: An unusual example in which Monte handcuffs himself and Lucy to her bed, throwing the key out of reach, so she can ‘get to know him better’. And then he promptly falls asleep.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Lucy’s agreement to enter into one of these is apparently Monte’s motivation for the heist.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most characters to some extent, but particularly Viv.
  • Dirty Old Man: Dante likes to get rather close to the waitresses.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Lucy is assisted to do this twice, first by Monte and later by Viv.
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  • Engaging Conversation: Monte asks Lucy to marry him before they have even exchanged names. He also proposes to two waitresses during the same lunch shift.
  • Escape Artist: Lucy’s life-long dream is to become one. Her childhood skills were scuppered by the onset of puberty.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: The shiny silver dresses worn by Lucy and her fellow waitresses are (charitably) described as ‘unflattering’. The bartenders wear matching shirts with the added bonus of snazzy waistcoats.
  • Insistent Terminology: Lucy’s stage name is “Lucy the Ethereal”, NOT “The Ethereal Lucy”.
  • Lost in Translation: Cecilia, the Swedish waitress, suffers from this.
  • Love Triangle: Lucy and Viv argue over who has dibs on Monte. He suggests a threesome as the obvious answer to the dispute. Unsurprisingly (or surprisingly, YMMV), he is turned down.
  • Outright Lie: Monte is prone to these.
  • Noodle Incident: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Psycho Lesbian: One of the judges at Lucy’s ill-judged audition for an all-lesbian variety show.
  • Right on the Tick: The robbery is planned around an exact time, with Lucy and Monte counting down to the moment Viv should arrive. Needless to say, things go humorously awry.
  • Torpedo Tits: Although not launched as such, the version of Viv’s self-defence bra with added spring-loaded knives earns her the nickname “Lethal Cleavage”.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: One of Viv’s other bra designs features an in-built coin purse.


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