Working for the mob in L.A., Tommy is assigned with bringing Big Sep the heads of eight recently murdered men who made the mistake of crossing him. While on the plane, however, his duffel bag containing the heads gets switched with Charlie's identical bag. Charlie, a traveling college student on spring break, is trying to spend his vacation with Laurie, his girlfriend, and her parents in Mexico. Tommy soon discovers the error and goes ballistic, as he was given only twenty-four hours to deliver the heads. With Tommy trying to track him down, Charlie attempts to get the heads across the border to avoid Mexican prosecution. But when the mob comes after them, they find that only by working together can they solve their mutual problems.
Mostly overlooked at the box office, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag was one of those films that I discovered several years ago in the 'gallery' section of a local video store. Joe Pesci, for me at least, has always been hit or miss – he's usually great if he's working with other great actors, though with few exceptions (notably My Cousin Vinny) the films he leads are mostly forgettable. Not that 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag particularly bucks that trend, but I found it to be a decent black comedy that is hindered by some unrealized characters and mediocre acting on the part of the supporting players. Pesci's character of Tommy doesn't vary that much from the gangsters he's portrayed in other films, at least initially, but towards the end he does soften up a bit, which seems uncharacteristic. The film also boasts two cringe-inducing moments, one being Pesci's character singing along with the radio early on and the other being Louiso's 'spoof' on the infamous monologue from Taxi Driver. Despite these flaws, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag has some really funny moments, though certainly isn't the finest entry in the black comedy sub-genre.