Montgomery “Monty” Capuletti is a hard-living, heavy-drinking, pot-smoking, gambling family man who makes his living as a baby photographer in New Dorp, Staten Island. He loves his wife Rose but has a very tense relationship with his wealthy, snobbish mother-in-law, Mrs. Monahan, who runs a successful department store chain and hates the way Monty acts and lives. There is an added ethnic rivalry between Monty and his wife’s family, as he is Italian and they are Irish.
The irresponsible Monty cannot even pick up a wedding cake for his engaged daughter Allison without fouling up. He and his best friend Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Cerone are smoking marijuana while driving, and an accident destroys the cake.
After Mrs. Monahan dies unexpectedly, his family is in for an inheritance. Attorney Scrappleton reveals that Mrs. Monahan left a stipulation in her will that if Monty is able to curb his vices for a year by going on a diet and giving up drugs and gambling, he will receive $10 million. If not, the family gets nothing. Allison’s wedding to the peculiar Julio goes off without a hitch, at least until the wedding night. The guys Monty would drink and gamble with are also interested in whether or not Monty can really give up everything and bet whether or not he will make it.
Monty and Nicky go to the mother-in-law’s department store and find awkward fashions and catering to a clientele which clearly do not include the likes of Nicky and Monty. Nicky argues that it may not be worth it to Monty if this is the kind of atmosphere he will be exposed to, but Monty points out he must tough it out to provide for his wife and daughters, not just him. Meanwhile, Mrs. Monahan’s scheming right-hand man Clive Barlow does his best to undermine Monty’s resolve so the money and department store can instead be left to him.
Monty ultimately reforms. When the entire year is up, he and the family celebrate aboard a boat. To his chagrin though, Mrs. Monahan turns up. She had faked her own death simply to persuade her slovenly son-in-law to straighten up. Ultimately though, she gives the money to Monty on the basis he upheld her stipulation. Now rich, Monty and his family live in a mansion. However, Monty hints the “clean living” clause has just expired as he kisses his mother-in-law good night and fakes heading to bed. Monty proceeds to a hideaway to join Nicky and his friends for pizza, poker, and beer.
Easy Money is a 1983 American comedy film starring Rodney Dangerfield, Joe Pesci, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Candice Azzara, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It was directed by James Signorelli and written by Dangerfield, Michael Endler, P. J. O’Rourke and Dennis Blair. The original music score was composed by Laurence Rosenthal. The theme song “Easy Money” is performed by Billy Joel and was featured on his album An Innocent Man.
Easy Money (1983)
Directed by: James Signorelli
Starring: Rodney Dangerfield, Joe Pesci, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Candice Azzara, Val Avery, Tom Noonan, Lili Haydn, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Screenplay by: Rodney Dangerfield, Michael Endler
Production Design by: Eugene Lee
Cinematography by: Fred Schuler
Film Editing by: Robert M. Reitano, Ronald Roose, Rick Shaine
Costume Design by: Joseph G. Aulisi
Set Decoration by: Frederic C. Weiler
Music by: Laurence Rosenthal
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: August 19, 1983