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Support Your Local Sheriff!
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Support Your Local Sheriff! More at IMDbPro »

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57 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

James Garner shines in highly agreeable western spoof

Author: Steven Mears (rmears@worldnet.att.net) from Clifton, Virginia
28 June 2001

Here is a funny, good-natured parody of classic westerns, starring James Garner in the role he was born to play - the reluctant hero, tackling crises with his wits, not his fists. You don't have to be familiar with western clichés to enjoy this film, but those who are in on the jokes will find it especially rewarding. Of course, Mel Brooks' similar `Blazing Saddles' is better remembered today, but I feel that `Support Your Local Sheriff!' is the more successful film. It achieves its results through the writers' ingenuity and the actors' flawless timing and delivery, as opposed to the riotous, hit-or-miss gags of Brooks' film.

Garner plays a drifter who is gradually making his way to Australia, for no discernable reason. He arrives in an unruly western town that's been through three sheriffs in the past two months and is now in desperate need of another. The town council is not choosy, and he is hired almost sight unseen. Then he sees the jail - real nice, but no bars for the cells. He picks the most incompetent man in earshot (Jack Elam) for his deputy, and sets about cleaning up the town. Garner is adept at all the usual gun tricks and is in fact an expert marksman, but he prefers to talk his way out of tight situations, always getting the better of his intellectually-challenged opponents.

The real trouble begins when he arrests a whiny ruffian (Bruce Dern) for murder, and books him in one of the cells without bars. In the true western fashion, his crotchety pop (Walter Brennan) and all his brothers ride into town to engineer a jailbreak. What happens next would be criminal to reveal here, except to say that it consists of one comic gem after another.

Each line is written and delivered to perfection by a cast that seems to have been formed from a convention of old character actors. Brennan is hilarious sending up his Old Man Clanton role from "My Darling Clementine." His very presence in any western gives it a feel of authenticity, but here he proves to be a good sport in spoofing one of his definitive parts. Elam, Dern, and Harry Morgan contribute priceless support, and Joan Hackett is effective as Garner's most unorthodox love interest. All this would be for naught, however, without Garner in the central role. It calls for a very specific type of actor: quick-witted, sarcastic, astute, overly accommodating, and not especially tough. This is a tailor-made role for Garner, and he fills it in such a way that any other casting would be inconceivable. Thanks to him, the other performers, and the droll, clever screenplay, the film hits all the right notes for a pleasant and genial western comedy.

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46 out of 51 people found the following review useful:

A comedy masterpiece

10/10
Author: cableaddict from United States
7 June 2004

This film really should be in the IMDB top 50. Alas, just as with the Oscars, comedies never get the same respect as other genres.

It also seems that comedies more quickly feel dated. Not this one, however. Although it obviously doesn't have today's special effects, and quick-edit

sensibilities, it still feels almost as if it could be a modern flick.

It is as perfect as a comedy can be. Never a dull moment or lagging scene.

Excellent screenplay with lots of quick jabs. An absolutely perfect cast.

If you're reading this because you actually haven't seen this flick yet, and you like easy-to-digest comedies, you can't miss with this one. Ten stars.

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40 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

This is a scream!

Author: estabansmythe from Azusa, CA
7 June 2004

This is yet another of those "they don't make 'em like this anymore" gems. And, this western is a comic gem. Okay, it's a scream!

The whole cast is perfect, playing perfectly to a wonderful script. While all the action circles around the perfectly cast James Garner, who is light and amusing. Although he is funny, he's still the straight man to to all the town loonies.

Bruce Dern and Jack Elam are over the top hilarious as a dimwitted bad guy and dimwitted "town character" respectively. Harry Morgan is as funny as he's ever been, which is saying a lot considering his role in What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? Walter Brennan is typically excellent in one of his later roles as the typically grump head of the bad guy's clan. Even the lesser roles, such as Kathleen Freeman as a passerby, are delightful.

But I get sad every time I see the late Joan Hackett, as the mayor's daughter, the madcap, eccentric Prudy. She gets lovelier every time I see this. She's as beautiful as she is funny in this and she's a riot. She left us way too soon.

I wish one of our revival houses would run this coupled with The Cheyanne Social Club, another delightfully comic western from that great era in films. That would be one entertaining night at the movies!

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37 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Western Parody

10/10
Author: Stefan Kahrs from Canterbury, England
7 January 1999

This is a classic example of a genre parody. It's not one of those jokes-coming-at-100mph kind of spoofs (such as Blazing Saddles), it simply plays everything by genre rules. It shares this with the 1939 version of Destry Rides Again, but it goes much further in exhibiting the hilarious potential of the genre by just slightly exaggerating the kind of improbable situations classic Westerns so often throw at us.

To appreciate this film properly you need to be familiar with the classic Western genre, mostly to understand how the genre works when played straight but you may also recognise some movie references.

The cast is absolutely marvellous, James Garner is a commanding lead, Jack Elam has never been better, and there are first-rate character actors for all the supporting roles. Especially Harry Morgan and Walter Brennan are excellent in roles very similar to ones they played straight in High Noon and My Darling Clementine, respectively.

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30 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

A Movie For Classic Films Buffs To Check Out

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
20 August 2006

This was a very entertaining movie, far better than the similar "Support Your Local Gunfighter," although the two seem to be companion pieces.

This film sure didn't start out with a bang. I was really disappointed after the first 20 minutes and wondered why this movie had so many good reviews. However, once it picks up, it's excellent.

There are tons of character actors from this late '60s era, all of whom are fun to watch, guys like Jack Elam and Harry Morgan and much more. James Garner is excellent as the cock-sure Maverick-type sheriff. The bad guys, led by veteran Walter Brennan and Bruce Dern provide, I think, the best humor in the film.

As the film goes on, classic film buffs will enjoy all the parodies of past westerns such as Rio Bravo and High Noon. Yup, this turned out to be a real jewel, especially for classic movie fans.

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19 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Just Plain Fun!

8/10
Author: jeichenberger from United States
15 March 2005

Now, I will even watch James Garner in a bad movie. That whole worldly wise, yet winsome thing he has going makes you think of that best bud you had in junior high.

But this is actually a very good, drown yourself in a bag of popcorn, and laugh your cares away film.

Is it a western parody or humorous homage to some of the great character actors in American western? It certainly doesn't have a mean bone in its body and doesn't rely on shock humor to get you chuckling. This film respects its predecessors and has good clean fun with them.

It's a DVD you can easily find for under $10, and well worth it.

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20 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A Great "Movie Night" Film for All Audiences

Author: Jim Corveddu (PulpVideo) from United States
23 January 2004

This is a great film to have in your collection and to pull out when you have guests with varied tastes. Fantastic screenplay, staging, pacing and, most of all, incredible acting, all come together to make this a nearly perfect film. Someone says, "I don't like Westerns," you tell them this is a western "spoof" and really more of a brain-over-brawn and romance than a western in the classical sense. Another says, "I'm getting tired of romantic-comedies," you tell them that it's not the main storyline, and the romance is just another part of the spoof. There are some well-staged and funny action scenes and lots of witty dialogue. Whatever a person likes, it is in here; and whatever a person may not like, there is not so much of it in here to dominate the movie, and so much else to enjoy. Get this one in your video library as soon as possible...

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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

1969: The last great year for westerns

8/10
Author: Bill Slocum (sloke@discovernet.net) from Greenwich, CT USA
19 August 2001

There hasn't been a decade since 1969 as loaded with classic Westerns as was that one year: "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid," "The Wild Bunch," "True Grit," "Once Upon A Time In The West," and this one, the least appreciated but easiest to watch.

James Garner is such a comfortable onscreen presence, it's hard to appreciate all the fine work he does in this film. It's a clever comedy that is perhaps a bit too anxious to please, but can make you laugh all the same. The supporting actors are tremendous, too. It's funny to see Dern play such a naif, but Brennan has the best time of it. His expression when Garner sticks his finger in the barrel of Brennan's pistol is priceless.

No scorpion fights, no blown-up trains, no Italian dubbing or even Strother Martin. But I can't think of a better family movie, or just something to beat the blues.

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21 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely first rate family fun

10/10
Author: Norman Short (Norman Short)
28 March 2001

One of my favorite western comedies; there isn't a false note in the whole film. No matter how many times I've seen it, I always laugh out loud throughout the film. The cast is simply wonderful: James Garner is playing tongue in cheek as the naive yet witty Sheriff, and Walter Brennan, Bruce Dern and Jack Elam are simply marvelous. Add in the physical comedy of Joan Hackett and it's just a wonderful film. My highest recommendation.

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

a work of pure comic genius

10/10
Author: NativeTexan from Georgia
26 September 2003

Every actor perfectly cast, every line perfectly inflected, this was a work of pure comic genius that draws on all the stock cast of characters found in western novels and movies from the dawn of the genre. Great fun.

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