Books

Review: ‘Wild and Crazy Guys,’ by Nick De Semlyen

"Wild and Crazy Guys" by Nick De Semlyen; Crown (331 pages, $27)

In comedy, timing is everything. That law works against "Wild and Crazy Guys: How the Comedy Mavericks of the '80s Changed Hollywood Forever," a collection of anecdotes starring Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy and Chevy Chase that are as familiar as your dad's jokes around the dinner table.

Author Nick De Semlyen, the features editor for Empire movie magazine, has a breezy, conversational delivery, but he relies too much on recycled interviews, hyperbole and a shaky memory that butchers a key detail from "Parenthood."

The book is at its best when it takes you behind the scenes of "Little Shop of Horrors," "Neighbors" and other movies that haven't been dissected to death. Those features may not be as beloved as "Ghostbusters" and "Animal House," but at least the material feels fresh.

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