The Linguini Incident


Also known as:

Houdini & Company
Shag O Rama
The Robbery
(And possibly others)

Score (for Bowie fans): 4 out of 5

Score (for Non-Bowies): 3 out of 5

Verdict: Good Entertainment! Silly but fun little movie.

The Movie

The Linguini Incident is an obscure, offbeat comedy from late '91, starring Rosanna Arquette and David Bowie. It has many titles and just as many releases and covers. It's not even clear who owns it, only that it's been re-distributed with one of the strangest titles ever, "Shag O Rama," and that's how we know it here at The Labyrinth Pages.

This is a forgotten movie. Very few official reviews exist (all bad) and even Mojo doesn't know its budget or business. We think it got a theater release, but I personally had never heard of it, despite my being a rabid movie whore in the early 90s. I think I saw every bad movie from that period, and I would have jumped at the chance to see David in something like this. So this is another Bowie movie that no one has seen, but that every fan should have on the DVD shelf.
That means...

YOU get to be the Premiere!

Paddle up the Amazon and get a copy!

The Elements

This is a New York story. Two desperate and disgruntled restaurant employees decide to rob the place - a painfully trendy, yuppie hotspot owned by the two idiots shown at right.
Arquette is Lucy, a cute but ditzy waitress who's practicing to be an escape artist. Bowie is Monte, a slick, British barkeep who wants to get married so he can get his green card. They both need money, so they team up with Vivian (Lucy's best friend who designs lethal lingerie) to plan a crazy robbery.

The narrative is full of such random elements and barely-defined characters, but manages to be fun and engaging. There's even some romance, however clumsy, and it's exactly the kind of film that you expect to find Bowie in; it has that pleasant weirdness and potential cult appeal. But for a Bowie movie (Read: "genre-straddling arthouse madness"), it sorta tries to be commercial. It attempts Romantic Comedy, Crime Caper, and Buddy Picture, and is successful at some of them. It's also an upbeat, cheery film that moves well. The editing isn't perfect, but it never drags, either.
The direction is similarly "ok." There were some sorely missed opportunities in closeups (especially for the intimate moments), and more than once we wondered why he used that take. But it looks professional enough; we didn't notice any glaring problems with the composition, the shots are good and intercut nicely, and the photography and lighting are fine. Overall, it has the look and feel of a feature film, and that's worth some praise.

The Bowie

Bowie is among the very few, super-talented people who are also multi-talented. There's only one thing he can't do, and that's find a great script. He's way too good, too respectable, too famous and too impressive, to belong in this "cute" kind of movie.

Still, it's a good option for beautiful and amazing Bowie stuff. We love Jareth and get all shivery and overwhelmed at every frame of him in Labyrinth, but Linguini offers more. From handcuffed-Bowie to sleeping-Bowie to soaking-wet Bowie, this movie has it all for your salivating, girlish glee.

It's also an awesome performance. He easily holds his own next to the career actors, and bests Arquette regularly. It's another slap in the face about why Bowie has never gotten his due recognition as an actor. This movie is kinda "out there," something that a pretentious or lazy guy wouldn't take seriously, but he's all professional and brings total commitment. He does great stuff with the dialog; for a guy who doesn't make his living on film roles, he knows all the tricks and uses them often. The nuances are great - every once in a while he puts in a little move that might be accidental or candid or what. Who knows, and that's the idea. Method actor he's not quite, and there are a couple uneven moments (made noticeable by some lackluster direction), but this is superlative work in every way.

He's also ridiculously handsome, truly the Peak of Gorgeous. (Sorry to be shallow, but it's true.) You'll go into this thing fully aware that he's still warm from Labyrinth and therefore can only be stunning. But then he actually shows up looking and sounding like himself - when he's relaxed and happy, he's quick and brilliant and smart-alecky like this, brimming with that Bowie spirit - and you realize what you've been missing. This is what the Labyrinth script needed. With his dark eye atwinkle and that husky, heavenly voice clipping and curling just so, it's all David and all the charisma that has taken him to such wild heights and eternal popularity.
For a fan, this is some serious Bowie Paradise.

Quirks, Oddities, and Stuff to Notice

The DVD Cover...
This movie has many titles and cover designs, each stranger than the next, but this one takes the cake. It shows an inexplicably dark-haired Monte and a nameless, 1950's style "Diner" that has nothing to do with the movie.
Even Bowie looks odd because he's been flipped. (Note his eye on the wrong side.)

The Linguini...
Supposedly it's named after "The Spaghetti Incident," an anecdote re: Guns n' Roses, which indirectly relates to Bowie.
Do Google this!

The Spotlight...
While Lucy is practicing her act in the apartment, the spotlight (which appears to be mounted and stationary) keeps
following her every move. We're none of us lighting experts, but this seems impossible and is really WTF-distracting in the scene.

Neverending Breadstick Fun!
These look tasty.

The Pinata...
Lucy says that the Pinata is a donkey, but it's actually a bull when Monte brings it in.

The Book...
In Lucy's apartment, Monte is perusing a book called "Date Talk," a real title from 1970.

The Restaurant...
Lucy mentions that the restaurant is called "Dali." It explains the weird decor and this melted clock.

The Fish Tank...
It's implied that the fish tank is cold, but tropical fishies are swimming in it throughout the film - Including Tiger Cichlids, who are warm water guys (75+ degrees).

The Rabbits...
The actors are credited as "Hugh" and "Heff," but we never find out the character name of Lucy's house bunny. Even she just calls him a rabbit. Then again, we never even find out Lucy's or Monte's last name.

Save The Date:

At 40:41 ... Bowie actually picks up Arquette (!) with little effort.

At 52:48 ... Tummy is visible. Hehe.

At 58:32 ... David does a perfect Axe Hop! WOW! (Watch closely.)

Our Favorite Lines

Monte: "That's my name, don't use it up!" -- (Priceless)

Viv: "He's cute, Lucy. God, look how cute he is..." -- (Truer words...)

Monte: "Why don't we do the sophisticated thing and all sleep together !" -- (HA Monte, sly boots!)

Lucy: "You know New Sex is like crack." -- (Damn that's true)

Monte: "JAIL !!" -- (OTT funny!)

Goofs ! (Mostly editing)

16:03 ... Monte removes the noose. Twice.

20:58 - 21:03 ... Monte deliberately loops the chain around the back of his neck. A second later, it's dangling from his wrist again.

27:34 - 29:32 - 30:30 ... Monte has the cuff locked to his wrist. In the next scene, he's flirting with Jeanette and the cuff is gone. Then he's wearing it again and trying to get the key from Lucy.

34:00 ... Cecil and Dante are implying that Monte is running out of time to repay his debt to them. However, we don't find out until much later that he even owes them money. So, this scene makes no sense.

56:32... Viv fires the gun, but the barrel doesn't flash until a second later.

Questions ?

How much screen time does Bowie have in this?

Lots. He's a love interest and shares top billing with Arquette. If you're a fan, you must have this movie.

And how much of BOWIE is in this?

Again Lots. For fangirls, Labyrinth is a tease compared to this one. You get to see David do interesting things like flirt with girls, try to score, and even sleep ! It's sprinkled with Bowie activities that you've heretofore only fantasized about.

What about Sex? And Junk?

It has no actual sex or nudity in it. Not even boobs, which is kind of unusual for a Bowie picture. There are a couple romantic scenes that are divine, but sadly brief.
For junk and sex, The Man Who Fell to Earth is still the mainstay. And that's enough for anybody. Frankly, almost too much.

Rating? Language?

Linguini is rated PG-13 for language. A few F-Bombs.

How Bad is this movie?

It's sort of considered a "Bad Movie" by some people. But really, some movies are supposed to be fluff - just easy, fun entertainment, and this is one of those.
It has some story problems and shallow characters, but it's enjoyable all the same. Try to go in with low expectations and you may find it gets better on repeated viewings. Besides that, you're in it for the Bowie, and it certainly delivers on that.

Check out The Linguini Incident...

At Teenage Wildlife

At Imdb

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