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5 Plot Point Breakdown: Quick Change (1990)

By Anthony Faust · September 21, 2017

Screenplay Genre: Crime film/Heist film

Movie Time: 89 minutes


Grimm (Bill Murray) is just another balloon-holding clown who’s fighting through rush hour on a New York City subway. But unlike most clowns, he carries a loaded gun.  He goes up to a bank security guard and sticks his oversized red shoe in the door. He disarms the guard and pushes himself and his balloons inside the bank. He fires a few bullets into the roof. The robbery is underway. (00:03:46)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

In a wickedly clever twist, Grimm and his accomplices, Phyllis (Geena Davis) and Loomis (Randy Quaid), have managed to escape with a million dollars from the bank by disguising themselves as hostages released by Grimm himself. The police think Grimm is still inside the bank but Grimm, who has removed his clown make-up, Phyllis, and Loomis have slipped away.

Grimm calls Chief Walt Rotzinger (Jason Robards) from a pay phone in Brooklyn to buy more time. He pretends to be dissatisfied with one of his demands, i.e. for a monster truck to be delivered outside the bank. He then stalls Rotzinger with another phony demand. But just as Grimm is about to hang up the phone, Loomis accidentally honks the horn. Rotzinger asks what the noise was and Grimm deflects, telling Rotzinger to meet his demand. But the damage is done. Valuable time has been lost. Grimm, Phyllis, and Loomis must get to the airport, knowing the police will now figure out their devious plan sooner then they had hoped. (00:26:14)


After a series of mishaps, Grimm, Phyllis, and Loomis become stuck inside a cab with a driver (Tony Shalhoub) who speaks no English. After being told to go to the airport multiple times, the driver appears to have no understanding of the trio’s destination. After the cab driver runs a red light, Loomis jumps out of the cab in frustration and, while running full steam ahead, slams into a newsstand, knocking himself unconscious. (00:49:09)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Grimm, Phyllis, and Loomis, who’s now limping from his accident, stagger slowly down a dark alley. Getting to the airport has proven more difficult than originally intended, giving Rotzinger and the New York police time to put the pieces together and track down their suspects.

Suddenly, a large bright light appears. It looks like Grimm, Phyllis, and Loomis are frozen in the blinding headlights of a police car, ready to apprehend them. But instead it is an airport vehicle hauling luggage. Loomis mentions that Phyllis can’t ride in her “condition”. Grimm looks at Phyllis, who has been trying to tell him she is pregnant. (01:12:51)


Grimm, Phyllis, and Loomis split up at the airport. Grimm gives Phyllis her boarding pass and asks her to meet him on the plane while he takes Loomis to the bathroom, Later, when Grimm and Loomis get on the plane, Phyllis is not there. Grimm tells Loomis he is leaving to find Phyllis when he sees Rotzinger coming down the aisle, holding a gun.

But Rotzinger is not there for Grimm. Instead, Lombino (Kurtwood Smith), a man whose associates Grimm had crossed paths with earlier, and who sits in the seat ahead of Grimm, stands up and confronts Rotzinger. Lombino is a mafia crime-boss and Rotzinger, who thinks Lombino is the one who robbed the bank, scuffles with him. The fight ends with Phyllis coming out of the lavatory. Grimm, Phyllis, and Loomis end up escaping with their one million dollars since Rotzinger and the police believe Lombino is their man. (01:20:53)

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