Unique 1990 screwball comedy about an NYU film school freshman from Vermont (Matthew Broderick, still in his passive "Ferris Bueller" everyman phase) who inadvertently gets mixed up with a Little Italy mobster played by Marlon Brando, spoofing his Don Corleone from "The Godfather." Bruno Kirby is Brando's nephew, Penelope Ann Miller is his daughter, and Frank Whalley is Broderick's roommate in a well-cast Andrew Bergman production. This is high-concept stuff.
Every actor is mugging for the camera in this one. Watch for Maximilian Schell in full goofball mode as a eerily campy German chef named "Larry London" who is in league with the mob and Burt Park ("Miss America") in a great self-parody. Also look for Paul Benedict as a delightfully pompous film professor and BD Wong as a mob flunky among the minor players. As Broderick's crazed environmentalist stepfather, Kenneth Welsh makes an impact as well.
On the other hand, the film hasn't aged well in some ways. By modern standards, the pacing feels a bit slow, being more like a 1980s film than a 1990s production. The plot is also hard to swallow at times, including oddball stuff like Penelope Ann Miller as a Catholic college girl trying to marry Broderick and bring him into "the family" without any real motivation for doing so.
With some long stretches between laughs, the film remains memorable primarily for two things: Brando's sendup of Don Corleone and a Komodo dragon that figures in the plot. The dragon, played by a real lizard, appears in two hysterical sequences which qualify as comedy classics. Seriously, I die laughing at them every time I see it. Brando, on the other hand, relies more on our pop culture memory of "The Godfather" than overt humor for laughs, and his subtle performance isn't incredibly memorable beyond the shock value of watching the original "Godfather" doing a mob spoof.
The DVD itself is OK, including a few features without nothing particularly memorable.
In the end, see this film for the dragon. Without the dragon, it's a pretty average gangster spoof. The dragon makes it.