W. Bright (Burt Reynolds) is a robber with a heart of gold who travels the South knocking off banks and gas stations owned by a corrupt businessman. When he hijacks a car, he meets an aspiring country band, the Dixie Dancekings, led by Dixie (Conny Van Dyke). The two sides eventually take a liking to one another, especially after the Dancekings realize the size of Bright's thefts. Trailed by ...
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John G. Avildsen
W.W. is a happy-go-lucky crook who makes his living robbing gas stations through the drive-up windows. The Dixie Dancekings are a country music band trying to get their first big break. W.W. crosses paths with the Dixie Dancekings when he hijacks their car (and them) to help him rob a bank. At first, the band resists. However, when they discover how much money they make, they begin helping out voluntarily in order to finance their big break. At the same time, W.W. takes a liking to them and uses his natural charm and smooth-talking ways to help them start down the road to stardom. Written by
It's a Burt Reynolds showcase. He plays the charming rogue to the hilt, a perpetual grin on that care-free mug. As the rootless WW, he tools around the South in a flashy car, sticking up gas stations in, yes, friendly fashion. However, it's really one of those big corporations, viz. SOS, that he picks on since he's got a grudge against their heartless ways. But then he hooks up with a promising hillbilly band The Dixie Dancekings, promoting their career in his inimitable way. That is, when he's not sticking up SOS banks, again,in friendly fashion. But the big boys in suits don't take kindly to his spree. So they sic a Bible spouting gumshoe (Carney) on his trail, a Deacon in black who looks like he's practicing for the Evil Dead.
I expect a movie like this, filled with Southern stereotypes plus Reynolds smashing his share of hot cars, is mainly a matter of taste. But I found the general goofiness hard to resist. It's a perfect role for Reynold's brand of leering charm. At the same time, it's an uptight Art Carney, a million miles from his good-natured dimwit Ed Norton of the Honeymooners. Of course, there's the usual amount of car bashing and Keystone Cop car chases for a Reynolds movie. Plus, I really like the slow, engaging way WW takes over the fortunes of the Dixie Dancekings. You just know they'll make it big, but will the non-musical WW with the Deacon on his trail.
All in all, the movie's an entertaining 90-minutes of Reynolds nonsense, despite my better judgment.
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