Back By Midnight (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Back by Midnight is a typical Rodney Dangerfield "slobs versus snobs" vehicle. Rodney plays the warden of a minimum security prison which is being run for the state by a private contracting company. Rodney's greedy corporate bosses conspire to ignore the prison's needs and spend virtually nothing on it, thus pocketing the difference between what they get from the state and what they actually spend on the facility. This sleazy profit covers up the losses in their department store chain. Rodney gets so frustrated by the corporate moguls that he allows the inmates to leave the prison at night and rob the boss's stores for the supplies he needs to upgrade the prison.

Rodney seems very old and tired in this film, and he looks ill. His usual zingers have no zing. In spite of that, he's still the best thing in the film, which is written and performed at a broad, puerile level that makes F Troop seem like a segment of Masterpiece Theater. Here's a fact to scare you: although Back by Midnight stars Rodney Dangerfield and Randy Quaid, those two guys are the MOST subtle performers in the film. The next most important roles are:

  • a safecracker named "Ears" with super-sensitive hearing. The actor actually wears gigantic prosthetic Dumbo ears.

  • a convict named "Jerk-off" who actually says things like "du-u-u-u-h, I dunno"

  • a 200 pound woman in light dominatrix outfits.

  • an obnoxious monkey who climbs on a chandelier and pisses on Randy Quaid. ("Gold, Jerry, GOLD!")

  • Gilbert Gottfried and Ron Jeremy. 'Nuff said.

(To Kirstie Alley's credit, she played the embarrassing fat woman role with good humor and lots of cleavage, and managed to be about as sexy as a woman that size can be.)

This film is so bad it has just been sitting on the shelves for a couple of years, and was released to DVD without fanfare and with no effort to promote the final starring role of a recently deceased comedy legend.

Rodney deserved a better send-off.



no significant features



  • One unknown actress is rather graphically exposed when caught by her husband in bed with ... Ron Jeremy

  • Another unknown actress (with massive store-bought assets) gets her top ripped off at a party

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • No box office. No theatrical release. It didn't even go to video for two years!
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D. I like Rodney's "regular guy" comedies, but not this one.

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