‘The Super’ Review: “Gimme the Rent!”

Posted in The Screening Room by - December 20, 2015

Where last week I wrote about a film with an amazing cast and a terrible execution, this week I get to write about an almost entire cast of relatively unknowns, except for Joe Pesci, that manage to pump out a mildly well worked piece of early 90s cinema. The Super is a 1991 film directed by Rob Daniel, who wrote the screenplay for Jurassic Park, and it fits easily in to the mildly entertaining but not nearly bust a gut laughingly funny flicks that seemed to poor out of Hollywood at the time.

The Super is a film in which Joe Pesci plays Lou, a scumbag tenement overlord. The first ten minutes is a montage of Pesci being a racist, ignoring his tenant’s issues, and learning how to do so from his racist father that uses terms like “cookaboo” when referring to the underprivileged. When Lou’s tenants file suit against him for his failures as a landlord, the judge decides not to send him to jail, and instead confines him to an apartment in his own building, with the stipulation that he must fix all the other apartments before he can make any improvements to his own new residence. However, his dick bag of a dad threatens to remove him from the will if he improves a single wall.

Most of the early humor comes from Pesci being a spoiled fish out of water in a shit hole he was supposed to take care of. However, as the movie progresses, more and more of the comedy in The Super threatens to make a statement about classicism and racism. A scene in which Pesci accuses a black kid, played by Kenn Michael, of breaking in to his apartment and breaking his radio, is made so incredibly satisfying when Pesci plugs it in to make sure it works, and it blows out the electricity that he’d failed to repair. When Lou’s father calls the kid buckwheat, the movie has the balls to have the kid respond by calling him a fat fuck.

As the film goes on, Lou is scammed, dumped, and embarrassed as he learns how little his father really cares about him and how terrible it is to live in a worthless apartment surrounded by people he actively pushes away with his arrogance. However, the finale is almost to absurd for the piece. Lou’s dad, in an insane decision, pays a man to light the building on fire. It’s resolved by Lou telling the arsonist to go screw himself, before Lou’s dad apologizes and leaves, because nobody in the building decided to call the cops on him.

All things considered, The Super is an interesting flick about comeuppance, privilege, racism, and responsibility. Its attempts at humor are mostly flat, but enough of the jokes are so laugh out loud funny that the movie still ends up being more funny than not. It also helps that the overall story, while mostly predictable, is heartwarming in its sincerity. Also, since it’s an early 90s film, it’s got a custom rap song that remixes some of Pesci’s lines from the film in a hilariously bad musical track.

Final Say: Watch It

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Born in Arizona, he currently resides in Denton, Texas. When he isn't watching movies he's playing board games and drinking whatever he can get his hands on. John watches Djimon Honsou movies because he likes Spawn, which had Michael Jai White.
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