Los Angeles: A new law says that the first ambulance that arrives at an accident obtains the contract to transport the injured person. The result is ruthless competition between several companies. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
Mother's last name is Tucker. It is mentioned twice over the radio when Naomi Fishbine is calling Unit 1. Once when they are stopped for hamburgers and again when Jugs is along for her first training run. See more »
When "Mother" injects the "hangover cure" into the massage parlor girl, you can see him flip the syringe around as he hits her behind. See more »
You know Mrs. Fishbein, you are a hell of a good-looking woman.
[overhearing on the radio]
He really IS stoned.
See more »
How would you like mayo and peanut butter on a burger?!?
"Mother, Jugs & Speed" is one of the more interesting films of the 1970s that this viewer has seen, and it deserves to be seen by a larger audience. It's mostly a dark comedy (with some moments that are very, very serious) about private ambulance services engaging in cutthroat competition, and the quirky characters that work for the financially strapped F & B Ambulance Company, run by cranky crook Harry Fishbine (Allen Garfield). Bill Cosby plays ace driver "Mother" Tucker, Harvey Keitel is Tony / "Speed", an ex-cop and new employee who'd been accused of selling drugs, and Raquel Welch is the spirited Jennifer a.k.a. "Jugs" who's determined to prove herself capable of being more than a secretary. This is a lot of fun for a while, with some choice lines of dialogue and energetic performances. The Cos walks away with all of his scenes, but he does receive some hilarious competition in the form of Larry Hagman as sleazy, horny employee Murdoch. The guy can't help himself but get together with an attractive patient in the back of an ambulance! Also appearing are people as diverse as L.Q. Jones, Bruce Davison, Dick Butkus, Severn Darden, Bill Henderson, Toni Basil, and an uncredited Tim Reid. Ultimately the movie can't quite maintain the same momentum all the way through, and those sobering dramatic moments may throw some people for a bit of a loop. Still, the premise makes for some great humour, with one example being the instance in which two of the attendants have a hard time transporting a heavyset woman. "Mother" also figures in a priceless running gag where he threatens to mow down nuns who are crossing a street. It's fun to see the lengths to which these companies will go for the sake of reaching patients first and therefore getting the contract for their services. The movie does do a nice job of capturing the nature of the people in the profession and the nature of their business, and is never less than entertaining. It's easy to want to follow the adventures of our main characters, superbly played by The Cos, as the seasoned veteran and wise guy, the ever lovely Welch as the impassioned woman whose efforts to break through barriers is all too believable, and whose education in the harsh reality of life is poignant, and the nicely low key Keitel as the newcomer learning the ropes. They make viewing "Mother, Jugs & Speed" quite the experience; this film definitely comes recommended. Seven out of 10.
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