Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second greatest repo man movie of all-time! Darren McGavin stars Michael Nolan, a man in desperate need of a job following his recent divorce. He quickly finds one when his car is repossessed. New to the repo game, Nolan teams up with 16 year old "Larry" (Nickerson), a smart mouthed tomboy stolen straight out of THE BAD NEWS BEARS. As the duo cruise around town looking for their wares, a series of madcap encounters ensue including everything from mobsters to a sly vixen (Collins).
That plot synopsis may sound a bit thin and there is a reason for that. ZERO TO SIXTY basically has no plot. What makes the film enjoyable is the energy of Darren McGavin as the put upon husband turned repo man. Had any other actor filled that role, the film would not be as agreeable as it is now. McGavin brings that manic Kolchak liveliness to this character and it makes him awfully hard not to like. There is also pretty good chemistry between McGavin and young Nickerson, who is probably best remembered as Violet Beauregarde in WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971).
This brings me to the film's only really odd point. For the most part this is a breezy 70s comedy that, like the aforementioned BAD NEWS BEARS, teams up an older man with a young girl. The only difference here is that "Larry" actively tries to seduce McGavin's character! Needless to say, it creates some really odd moments. The filmmakers cover themselves by having McGavin shack up with sexier (and older) Joan Collins at one point in the film, but the weirdness returns when McGavin confesses to having thought about "getting it on" with "Larry" at the film's conclusion.
With such a thin plot, the film resembles a television show rather than a theatrical feature. It makes sense when one inspects director Don Weis' filmography; he did episodes of nearly every major 70s TV series from "Happy Days" to "CHiPs" to "Baretta" to "The Man from Atlantis." Actually, this would have been a pretty good ensemble series a la TAXI. Sylvia Miles co-stars as the repo shop owner who is constantly flirting with every man she sees. And 70s comedy/music trio The Hudson Brothers provide some Three Stooges inspired gags and the film's songs. You will definitely be humming the theme by the end because it is extremely catchy and pops up every time the smallest bit of action occurs on screen. Sharp eyed viewers will catch cameos by Dick Martin, Lorraine Gary and Lyle Waggoner. There are also a few nifty car stunts courtesy of Paul Baxley backed by son Craig Baxley (went on to become a successful stunt coordinator and film director in his own right).
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