Directed by Paul Flaherty (brother of Joe — who shows up as a doorman in a memorable part of this film — and director of 18 Again! and Clifford, as well as a writer on SCTV, Maniac Mansion and several Martin Short projects) and written by Robert Conte and Peter Wortmann (who wrote The Breed and Who Do You Love together), Who’s Harry Crumb? is the kind of movie that would be a failure were it to star anyone other than John Candy, a comedy force of nature who makes it successful by sheer force of talent and will.
When model Jennifer Downing (Renée Coleman, A League of Their Own and the evil leaper Alia on Quantum Leap) is kidnapped, her father (Barry Corbin) visits the detective agency Crumb & Crumb. The boss there, Eliot Draisen (Jeffrey Jones, never the hero), actually did the kidnapping, so he hires out the worst detective they have: Harry Crumb (Candy), the grandson of the company’s founder.
Helped by Jennifer’s sister Nikki (Shawnee Smith), he soon discovers that there’s a lot going on. Jennifer’s stepmother Helen (Annie Potts) is having an affair with tennis coach Vince Barnes (Tim Thomerson) as well as Eliot, and they’re all trying to get all the money for themselves.
John Candy would make this, Uncle Buck, Speed Zone and The Rocket Boy in 1989. He believed that TriStar Pictures’ poor marketing of this film was the reason why it bombed. He refused to work with them for five years until Wagons East, which sadly was the last film he’d make. Candy suffered severe anxiety and panic attacks throughout his life and self-medicated with alcohol, eating, smoking and occasional drug use. He’s also one of my favorite performers of all time and I wish he’d found the help and peace he needed, because he only made it 43 years in this reality and truly deserved a long and happy life.
The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1980s Collection has a ton of great movies at an affordable price. It also has Punchline, Little Nikita, Vice Versa, The New Kids, Roxanne, Blue Thunder, Suspect, Band of the Hand and Like Father, Like Son. You can get this set from Deep Discount.