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George Roy Hill
Madolyn Smith Osborne,
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Writer Nick Gardenia is kidnapped from his California cliffhouse and forced to rob a bank. Now a fugitive, he seeks help from his ex, Glenda. She is a public defender remarried to a prosecutor, and we get a houseful of hijinks. Written by
This picture was inspired by the Hollywood screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s. See more »
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I wouldn't say Neil Simon's comic wit is at full steam in this light-hearted comedy, but there are certainly a plethora of laughs to go around.
Chevy Chase's Nick Gardenia is offishly matter-of-fact funny as only he can be, a writer and journalist (have you noticed Simon's protagonists are nearly always writers?) of ill-repute who somehow once ended up in a Mexican jail for 2 years and is now on the path to recovery when a couple of bank robbers kidnap and use him for a heist. His mug is prominently featured in the robbery photos and then the fun ensues when he goes to his ex-wife's (Hawn's) house to engender her help after being let go by the robbers and being fully on the run from the law.
The movie is mostly fast-paced slapstick farce, a host of retreaded clichés (the dogs, for example), and quick jokes. Charles Grodin is actually quite funny and charming as her straight-arrow District Attorney (soon to be Attorney General) husband, Ira. Given "Midnight Run," I think Grodin should be considered a mint for American glib comedy a la Albert Brooks.
It's pointless to go much deeper into the story as the plot merely drives slapstick scenes one into the next. The story is essentially the sum of its parts.
Goldie Hawn is in full-tilt cutie mode (she really was a doll) but carries the movie very well as a hopeless do-gooder who wants to help everybody, including her ex-husband and every stray dog in 10 surrounding counties. Chevy Chase often gives the impression of making comedy look effortless (think Fletch), but he is REALLY giving into pratfalling a la his SNL days in this one. The supporting cast with Guillaume and others is excellent.
This is completely worth a watch if you catch it as in many ways this movie is superior to the Hawn and Chase hit "Foul Play."
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