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There's the Bill Murray films everyone knows and then there's Quick Change, a comedy from 1990 co-directed by and starring the actor as a bank robber trying to get to the airport with his girlfriend and brother only to find that New York is not the easiest place to manoeuvre through.

The film was critically lauded upon its release but it wasn't a big box-office hit so people tend to forget about it entirely. Which is a shame since this is probably one of Bill Murray's very best performances and movies. We first meet him dressed up like a clown holding a bunch of balloons as he enters a bank and holds a group of people hostage at gunpoint. After robbing the place, he escapes and reunites with his partners in crime as they set off with the loot towards the airport. Unfortunately for Grimm (Murray), Phyllis (Geena Davis) and Loomis (Randy Quaid) they keep getting delayed in increasingly frustrating ways whether it's Phil Hartman confusing them for burglars, getting robbed by some random guy, stumbling onto a mob meeting or dealing with the most time-conscious bus driver ever.

Bill Murray is on top form and in lesser hands his character could easily have come off as a jerk but he's so darn charming and funny that even when he's locking up a bunch of people in a vault while holding a gun you root for him. By mostly focusing on the relationship between the three criminals, we get to know them better over the course of the film and, by the end, you can't wait to see them get away with it all. Jason Robards plays the cop who is trying to make sense of their plan and catch them as quickly as possible and he is also likeable even though he plays the role straight. The whole film is like a bittersweet love letter to New York as the city is portrayed as amusingly eccentric but also stressful and dangerous: you can certainly see why the gang want to flee to a sunny island asap.

If you like Bill Murray's movies then I can't recommend Quick Change enough. This is a funny, charming, clever little film with a witty script, solid performances and lots of wacky characters. Plus the plot has a nail-biting quality to it as you keep expecting the lead trio to get caught any minute.

Underrated gem.

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