CLARK KELLOGG, A NAIVE FILM STUDENT WHO ACCEPTS A JOB WORKING FOR CARMINE SABATINI. AS IF TRAPPED IN A COMIC NIGHTMARE, CLARK FINDS HIMSELF DRAWN DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO AN INGENIOUS SCAM INVOLVING AN ENDANGERED KOMODO DRAG... more »ON, SABATINI'S DAUGHTER, BERT PARKS AND A GROUP OF VERY HUNGRY ECCENTRICS.« less
"Young Clark Kellogg (Matthew Broderick) comes to New York, and within minutes, is robbed of most of his possessions. Even though he finds the robber, he is still short on cash (NYU Film School's required books aren't cheap) and is receptive to the idea of a job as an errand boy. He is stunned to meet his boss, Carmine Sabatini (Marlon Brando), who happens to look and sound like Don Vito Corleone. Clark soon finds himself tangled with Sabatini's Mafia-like affairs, not to mention his daughter, but mixed with that is a genuine liking and respect for the pseudo-Don. But with danger threatening from the Feds and a mob from South Amboy, is there a way out for both of them? A delight of humor, as both Broderick and Brando excel. Look for a tour de force by Maximillian Schnell as the mysterious Larry London. Lots of in-jokes here, from the portrayal of NYU Film School to Sabatini telling Kellogg that he knows a few people in Hollywood! The final scenes leave you laughing (Bert Parks hailing a Komodo Dragon with a Miss America parody, the very Germanic London being given intro music of a few notes of "Deutchland Uber Alles" and "The Ride of the Valkyies", Sabatini addressing said Komodo Dragon with "You cudda been a handbag" (recalling the backseat scene from "On the Waterfront"). The movie never takes itself too seriously. One wishes that, given the capabilities of the DVD, that more material would be given the viewer. Unfortunately, we are left with the theatrical trailer and not much more. Disappointing. The liner notes do disclose that the role of Sabatini was not actually written for Brando, and that the Komodo Dragon was played by a number of similar-looking giant monitors. Still, one of the finest comedy movies of the late '80s. You won't regret it."
Hilarious love song to gangster movies, comedy, and plot
Frank Lynch | Brooklyn, NY USA | 03/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful movie to have in your collection, because your appreciation and enjoyment will be immediate, and continue to grow over time. It combines swift dialog, hilarious performances, well done running gags, and a great street-level view of New York. The humorous parodies are obvious and rich, and yet it's wonderful to see Broderick's character try and act as if he's not -really- going through what he's going through - - his efforts to remain aloof to the farce he's embroiled in are truly wonderful. Performances from all other members of the cast are equally excellent. Not just Brando, but also Bruno Kirby; Kirby has really done something fantastic in this movie, and I've never seen him better. And Bert Parks!! Oh, my, who could have expected Bert Parks to do what he did!! Miss this one at your own risk."
An offbeat gem
D. MCGOVERN | New Zealand | 03/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I enjoyed this spoof of The Godfather (and other genres) on first viewing, I didn't fully appreciate its offbeat charm and cleverness. A second viewing a few years later brought home to me just how original and endearing The Freshman really is. Sadly overlooked on its release, this is a movie that works on many levels. Its outrageous plot manages to combine parody, Hitchcockian twists, sparkling dialogue and, at times, touching scenes of affection, in one superbly balanced package. Its achievement is all the more astonishing when one recalls that this was the directorial debut of its talented writer/director, Andrew Bergman.The cast is brilliant. Seasoned pros such as Bruno Kirby and Maximilian Schell (the latter enjoying himself immensely as the gaily enigmatic Larry London) lend wonderful support to the two leads, Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando. Broderick is ideally cast as the young college student embroiled in the affairs of the Sabatini "clan", while Brando gives one of his most likeable performances as the ageing "don" who bears more than a passing resemblance to you-know-who. On paper at least, the very notion of Brando sending up his most famous role must have seemed a risky move, but the great Marlon effortlessly avoids any opportunities for tastelessness. If anything, he enhanced my enjoyment of his original Don Corleone, simultaneously parodying and paying tribute to his greatest creation, and no movie buff would want to miss this cinematic reincarnation. Furthermore, Broderick and Brando enjoy a wonderful on-screen chemistry, and I was both touched and amused by their rapport. Also deserving of mention is Paul Benedict as Arthur Fleeber, the slimey professor of film studies whom Broderick encounters. Benedict hilariously sends up the loathsome pretentiousness of such types, and the scene in which he receives his comeuppance is deliciously handled.In short, The Freshman is a joy from start to finish, and repeated viewings will only enhance your enjoyment of this daring little gem."
Cute movie full of inside jokes for Godfather fans.
Peter Ingemi | Worcester County, Massachusetts United States | 09/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Matt Brodrick underplayed performance coupled with Bruno Kirby and Marlon Brando's first rate work makes this a movie that produces a lot of laughs.
The Godfather jokes abound and all play well. Brando being Brando steals the show and runs with it.
This is the perfect movie to watch with your wife just enough of everything to please everyone."
Now you're talking generalities...
Mike's Rite | Brunswick, Maine | 07/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fine funny film. Brando later bad-mouthed this movie but he seems to be having a great time spoofing his Vito Corleone character. Bruno Kirby and Matthew Broderick have never been better. We loved the Kimono dragon sequence but the dialogue is exceptionally clever and the film has a sweetness to it that is sadly absent from today's "family" films. Bruno Kirby played opposite the Vito Corleone character (Robert Deniro) in Godfather II which is seen in Clark's film studies class. Highly recommended for film-buffs in particular and anyone who's every wanted to see Don Corleone walking a kimono dragon on a leash!"