Mixed Nuts

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"A comedy on the edge."
  • PG-13
  • 1994
  • 1 hr 37 min
  • 5.4  (13,497)
  • 14

Mixed Nuts is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Nora Ephron and produced by her husband, Nick Pileggi. The movie has a star-studded cast including Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, Robert Klein, Juliette Lewis, and Adam Sandler. The film is set during Christmas Eve and follows the misadventures of the staff of a suicide prevention hotline called "Lifesavers".

Phillip (Martin) is the manager of "Lifesavers", and it quickly becomes clear that he is far from competent in his job. He is at a loss when a suicidal woman callously tells him that she's planning to kill herself but will wait until after the holiday, so as not to ruin Christmas for her family. While Phillip is preoccupied with this call, his colleague, Mrs. Munchnik (Kahn), a self-proclaimed Christmas fanatic, is trying to force everyone in the office to participate in her elaborate holiday decorations. The situation gets more complicated when a transvestite named Binky (Sandler) begins working at "Lifesavers".

The film takes a turn when a wealthy woman, Catherine O'Shaughnessy (Katharine Helmond), shows up at "Lifesavers" claiming that she needs help. She is clearly disturbed, and despite Phillip's attempts to help her, she ends up stealing his gun and disappearing into the night. This sparks a series of events that involve mistaken identity, kidnapping, and romantic complications.

One of the highlights of the film is the banter between the characters. Madeline Kahn steals the show as Mrs. Munchnik, who insists on having everyone sing Christmas carols at the most inopportune moments. Her scenes with Robert Klein, who plays her crush, add some much-needed romance to the movie. Juliette Lewis is also memorable as Gracie, a homeless woman who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mixed Nuts manages to balance its zany comedy with a surprising level of emotional depth. The suicide hotline setting provides a poignant backdrop for the film's exploration of loneliness and despair during the holidays. The film's central theme is the idea that everyone has their own cross to bear, and the importance of reaching out to others in times of need.

The movie's Christmas setting is another highlight. The film was shot on location in Venice Beach, California, and the setting provides an eclectic and colorful backdrop for the action. The holiday decorations are also a sight to see, with Mrs. Munchnik's over-the-top displays stealing the show.

Mixed Nuts is not without its flaws. The film's plot can be convoluted at times, and certain subplots (such as a brief appearance by Rob Reiner as a man who thinks he's been abducted by aliens) seem unnecessary. The movie's tonal shifts can also be jarring, with moments of genuine sadism mixed in with the broad physical comedy.

Despite its flaws, Mixed Nuts is a charming and quirky comedy that manages to balance its absurdity with a surprising level of emotional depth. The film's ensemble cast is uniformly excellent, and the film's Christmas setting adds a level of warmth and nostalgia that sets it apart from other comedies of its ilk. Mixed Nuts may not be a classic, but it is certainly a fun and entertaining holiday flick.

Mixed Nuts is a 1994 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.4 and a MetaScore of 14.

Mixed Nuts
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 37 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.4  (13,497)
  • Metascore