The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight (1971)
Director: James Goldstone
Cast: Jerry Orbach, Leigh Taylor-Young, Jo Van Fleet
Synopsis: This is the funny story about two warring Mafia gangs in New York. The weaker gang use incredibly a lion to blackmail the opposite gang’s “clients”. The police succeeds to stop one of the gang, while the other remain without the Boss.
From the moment the “wacky” cartoon credit sequence starts to play, it’s obvious that The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight is going to be a movie that hasn’t aged well. In fact, it was probably dated by the mid-seventies. This movie’s a real mishmash that never really jells into anything even remotely enjoyable. Most of the broad humour is laboured and false (only the mob leader’s method of ensuring his car isn’t booby-trapped raised a smile), and is poorly delivered by a largely mediocre cast.
The only stand-out is a young Robert De Niro, looking incredibly fresh-faced and, in a winningly light-hearted performance, displaying little sign of the grittiness that he would soon bring to his roles – comedy or otherwise. He even manages a convincing Italian accent.