The Ref (1994) starring directed Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey, Glynis Johns Movie Review

The Ref (1994)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Denis Leary in The Ref (1994)

Denis Leary Hates Chasseur

It should have been a regular job for Gus (Denis Leary); break into the mansion, open the safe and steal the jewels, something which he had done many times before. The trouble is who ever devised the security for this mansion had a playful side and rigged the home with booby traps leading to Gus not only triggering the alarm but his partner in crime fleeing and leaving him stranded. With no ride Gus decides to take a couple hostage and have them drive them back to theirs except Gus is having no luck as he takes hostage Caroline (Judy Davis) and Lloyd Chasseur (Kevin Spacey), a couple who can't stop fighting even when they have a gun aimed at them. And Gus really can't catch a break as when he gets to the Chasseur's home other bickering relatives arrive forcing Gus to try and referee all the family arguments.

My path to "The Ref" comes via another movie or TV show where it is mentioned it in a list of Christmas movies and as I hadn't heard of it I tracked it down, impressed by some of the reviews and ratings I came across in finding info on it. Yet having watched "The Ref" I can't actually see what all the fuss is, yes it is amusing, yes it has some great lines but it becomes monotonous as despite the various characters it is almost a one joke movie.

That joke is simply Gus having the day from hell and ending up with a family who simply don't get on and he finds himself trying to referee all the squabbles which go on. Initially these squabbles involve Caroline and Lloyd but extend out to other family members but basically works on no one paying attention to Gus as they get caught up in their rows despite the fact he has a gun. Some of the bickering is amusing but for me I needed something more and the subplots surrounding the police and so on were not enough to make it work.

In truth the best thing about "The Ref" are the performances from Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey as their constant bickering is amusing. As for Denis Leary well sadly this is a movie which doesn't play to his strengths and he ends up failing to make the impact as a criminal he needs to. But part of the trouble is that "The Ref" is middle of the road as it is neither dark nor light enough to work.

What this all boils down to is that "The Ref" is entertaining but it is one of those movies which is loved by some people but can end up under whelming for those who watch because others love it so much. As such "The Ref" whilst worth watching may not make your list of Christmas movies you want to watch every year.

Tags: Christmas Movies