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It's another lame, outdated comedy, but CHEAPER TO KEEP HER carries
some cheesy '80s appeal that the right crowd will appreciate.
Mac Davis, who will never be mistaken for Cary Grant (or even Cary Elwes), is Bill Dekkar, a chauvinistic private eye hired to track down members of his gender in arrears on alimony. Between hidden fortunes, excessive displays of horniness, and an alimony case with an interesting connection to their employer, Davis and sidekick Bruce Flanders get more than they bargained for. (Then again, when do people in movies ever get what they bargained for?).
Yes, there is much wrong with CHEAPER TO KEEP HER. Davis is a likable screen presence, but his supposedly macho persona comes off as hopelessly flaky. There are even a few cringe-worthy moments, like when Davis passes himself off as a pal of a deadbeat husband he's pursuing. But it turns out the man has been arrested for raping an elderly woman. This is supposed to be funny? Moreover, many will take offence at the embarrassing "gay man" persona Davis employs in the final scenes, but remember, this was 1980.
Still, CHEAPER TO KEEPER is pretty harmless. It's really not as bad as one might think based on the many, many scathing reviews found in all the major movie review texts. If you get a kick out of cheesy '80s comedies and are among the more forgiving filmgoers, this one's worth a late night look.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this little movie. Acting is good
all-around, and Mac Davis surprises by being very charming and funny. I
had forgotten what a charismatic character he was. He was also quite
sexy in his down-to-earth way. Whatever happened to Mac Davis?
The writing is actually quite clever and not just your run-of-the-mill silly comedy story.
The story weaves in and out of various scenarios. Davis plays a private eye who goes after deadbeat husbands, trying to find out what kind of hidden assets they might have. He works for a hard-bitten lawyer played by Tovah Feldshuh. Feldshuh is a bit brittle and hard - it's hard to see what the characters see in each other - but if you can get over that, the rest of the movie is quite entertaining.
It's worth a look just to see Ian Mcshane play a sleazy Dr. Feelgood type of character. As usual, he steals every scene he's in.
Trivia for Ian McShane fans: McShane met his wife-to-be, actress Gwen Humble, on this film.
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