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Oughta put a hit out on vulgar `Mafia!’

SHARE Oughta put a hit out on vulgar `Mafia!’

There's sort of a good news, bad news situation with "Mafia!" While the film doesn't feature alleged comedic actor Leslie Nielsen (which is definitely a good thing), the groans-to-laughs ratio is more skewed toward the former rather than the latter (which is bad).

Also, there is a lot more vulgar content in this uneven spoof of the "Godfather" films, including multiple flatulence gags and a vomiting sequence that puts the one in "Stand By Me"to shame.And even though co-writer/director Jim Abrahams (co-creator of the "Airplane!," "Naked Gun" and "Hot Shots!" movies) has never been a tasteful filmmaker, the decision to stoop to such low humor still feels gratuitous.

Despite a few chuckles, on whole the movie is a pretty sad farewell to late charactor actor Lloyd Bridges, whose role consists largely of stumbling around. He stars as Vincenzo "Clutzo" Cortino, the head of the powerful Cortino crime family.

But after an unsuccessful attempt on his life leaves him weak and vulnerable, Vincenzo turns the organization over to his son Anthony (Jay Mohr), who is torn between his need for revenge and his love for his pacifist sweetheart Diane (Christina Applegate).

Anthony also has to fight off hostile "takeover" efforts from his psychotic brother Joey (Billy Burke) - plans that are secretly being orchestrated by longtime family ally Don Marzoni (Tony Lo Bianco).

The jokes fly furiously through the first 45 minutes, but things really bog down in the final half. And it's almost more fun trying to spot which movies are being parodied (targets this time around include "Casino," "Saturday Night Fever" and "Forrest Gump") than to savor the awful puns.

As mentioned, Bridges is largely wasted, as is Mohr, whose performance is surprisingly one-note. But even more embarrassing is the presence of Olympia Dukakis, who is only in the movie to precipitate some of the flatulence gags.

Of course, as with most of Abrahams' big-screen efforts, some audiences may find it worthwhile to stick around for the final credits, which feature some jokes that are better than the rest of the film.

"Mafia!" is rated PG-13 for vulgar bodily function and sex gags, violent gunplay, profanity, simulated drug use, use of ethnic slurs, comedic sex scenes, glimpses of nude artwork and brief gore.