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The Pits

April 06, 1986

Tough time at Universal for the folks who compiled the ads for "The Money Pit."

Why else would they have quoted from our Kevin Thomas' generally negative review? True, Thomas was kind to stars Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. But, of the film itself, he said: "This Steven Spielberg production isn't inspired enough to be as funny or satisfying as it should be."

He was kinder than most critics were to this tale of a young couple who purchase and refurbish an old mansion. Among the complaints:

"Instantly becomes one of the worst movies of the year."--"At the Movies' " Gene Siskel. (Both he and Roger Ebert said to look for the title in their "Worst Films of 1986" show.)

"Unaccountably bad in just about every scene. Crudity like this defies analysis; it's a weird natural disaster, like a hailstorm of rotten eggs."--New York mag's David Denby.

"The pits. . . . All involved will want to move along from this mutual career low as quickly as possible."--Daily Variety's "Car."

"Hard as it is to imagine, there are some people who will be amused. . . . Those with more sophisticated comic tastes--a category that begins with diehard fans of Shemp Howard--can expect the same amount of yucks they might get out of open-heart surgery."--Michael Burkett, Orange County Register.

"Spielberg's creative arteries are hardening. . . . 'Pit' is essentially what Spielberg's '1941' was--a dumb movie for grownups but first-rate entertainment for kids."--USA Today's Mike Clark.

Solace from the first weekend: $6.9 million.

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