Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981) Poster

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One of my favorite movies, period
Calvin Sims29 August 2005
Carol at her best. Vulnerable, silly yet real. Very romantic. This movie also has a wonderful song with the lyric "All I need is you, sweet baby, and a whole lot of money." This movie is excellent for the entire family (my children love it). I am feverishly trying to buy this movie. I could watch it a thousand times. Did I mention romantic?

The story is full of human elements such as two down and out wannabes finding fulfillment in each other. They are drawn to each other, reluctantly at first, but their love for each other grows and they become inseparable.

Of course, there are villains and bad guys. There are suspenseful scenes where the actors are placed in jeopardy, but you know that there will be a happy ending. This movie will have you rooting for the stars and cheering at the outcome.
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Should Have Been Better, Could Have been Worse
happipuppi1330 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Once again,I comment on the many "unfortunate" choices of movies I went to see in 1981. (I saw 19 movies all together.) Most reviews here have given you the plot of Alan Arkin being a washed up baseball player formerly known as "The Philly Flash" and that Carol Burnette is "Chu Chu" the street performer.

Together these two get caught up in what is yet another Hollywood comedy about the average Joe running from the Govt. because they possess some sort of document! (See "Dirty Tricks" for a similar plot!) Chu Chu witnesses a man in a suit leave his briefcase behind,which she deposits into an opening on the side of her drum. Pretty soon the man and several undercover folk are after her and the "Flash".

The briefcase is now hidden in a hot dog vending cart of one of her neighbors (who has to take this thing up & down stairs everyday!) The agents go to every hot dog vendor in the park,placing a "special order" every time that's the code word for the vendor to give them the case.

Overall,the (I guess) sentimental moments between Alan and Carol are a lot better than the comedy. I did laugh when I watched this but not as much as I thought I would. That's why I rate it 5 stars,it's only "kind of" funny and only "kind of" touching. Some re-writes (maybe from Carol herself) should have been made before final production.

If you wonder why Carol wasn't that funny in this,it's because she truly does belong in front of a "live" audience. I think their energy gives Carol comedic energy and a "knock 'em off their socks" attitude. She makes better movie dramas anyway like,"Friendly Fire" and the serio-comic "The Four Seasons" with Alan Alda.

I recall the early 80's as a time when Hollywood thought they didn't have to "try" anymore and that folks would watch just anything. Maybe young people would like it but not many adults. (END)
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Better than it sounds -
capricorn91 July 2007
Carol Burnette and Alan Arkin star in this offbeat comedy and I must say that Miss Burnette has given a very underplayed, for her, performance. This does show she can act and not over the top. Arkin is at his manic best and his son is in great form as another of the homeless that get involved in the caper. It is well paced and most times the dialogue is snappy and well written. This little known film should be given a second chance. I just happened to pick it up on VHS at a local video store who was sell tapes off for under a buck! Glad I did. I had heard about it when it first came out, but never got to see it. Probably because it came and went before anyone would see it! Give it a chance.........
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A Classic- in my top 20 of all time great movies
rotary-128 January 2006
If you like Blues Brothers, you'll love this unknown classic, too. The characters are quirky, dialogue is hilarious, and the action is nonstop- every guy I have shown this movie has enjoyed it. If you can't decide on a date movie, give Chu Chu a try. And yes, the name sounds stupid, but Chu Chu is the name Carol Burnett's character uses when she dances Carmen Miranda style (she wears fruit on her head- it's better than the famous Scarlett O'Hara curtain rod scene from her variety show), and Alan Arkin plays a washed up baseball star, the Philly Flash. Watch for Adam Arkin, the wacky barefoot chef from Northern Exposure, and Alan's son. Adam's character is just as much fun in this movie.
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Very dry humor, with underplaying by some great actors
gunner-922 December 1998
Can't understand why this flick hasn't gotten better ratings. It's a dry humor comedy of lost souls on the streets of San Francisco. IT is fantasy, comedy, drama, action and very dry humor all rolled into one. I see reminders of some of the great movie comedians of the past here. Have any of you ever been to Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco? Used to see people like this all the time. And in the neighborhoods. These are local characters in many of them.
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Classic Alan Arkin...
kmw19624 May 2005
Alan Arkin is a bum, surrounded by characters crazier than himself, who has finally dried out and has the chance to play minor league ball. (He was known as the "Philly Flash" when he was a major league pitcher, before becoming a major drunk.) The only catch is, he's got to get there(Minnestoa as I recall) himself. So he does all the things street people do, wash car windshields, do small errands, sell bogus crap to people to get the bus ticket money. He has friends and colleagues, but not the kind that will finance him (Hey,we're talking $40 here) So he's trying to earn the bus ticket money.

Enter, Chu Chu (Carol Burnett) a street performer who teaches music to the desperately untalented from her one room apartment and does a very funny one woman band show for spare change on the street. When they meet, its love at first sight, okay, maybe second second. Although the main comedy instrument is the discovery of secret government documents, which the Flash informs Chu Chu are worth "fifty bucks, maybe seventy five", this movie is about the love between two hapless characters who's talents aren't enough for fame and fortune but gives them the hope that they can have a better life than the ones they have.

What makes this film really work is that their best friends sitting in the bus depot basically recalling the events of the last few days while waiting for their friends to arrive. If Chu Chu and the Flash are life's losers, then Charlie (played by Adam Arkin) and Theresa are a few rungs below that. Everyone should have friends as loyal and selfless as these two.
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I Just Felt Sorry For Carol
Rob Crespino21 September 2004
Carol Burnett is so talented! She can be dramatic, silly, downright hilarious. I am a huge fan of Carol's 70's variety show. However, this movie is a terrible load of crap. You won't believe how bad this is unless you have seen it. Burnett is street entertainer "Chu Chu" (a "Charo" imitation that Burnett got loads of laughs for on her television show, but it is strangely unfunny in this debacle.) Chu Chu meets up with a homeless bum, (Alan Arkin), who is known on the streets as the "Philly Flash" because he was once a professional baseball player. Somehow, these two stumble upon a brief case that contains secret government documents...and, well, I can't write anymore. This has to be seen to be believed.
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Skip it!
Caractacus2313 January 2007
I was born in 1970, and this movie came out in 1981. I had grown up during the 1970s thoroughly enjoying the old "Carol Burnette Show," so I pestered by mother to take me to see it at the old AMC Pruneyard theater in Campbell, California (now the site of the Camera 7 Cinemas). Man, was I ever disappointed! Its been nearly 26 years since I've seen this film, and I have no desire to repeat the experience. I can't remember there being anything funny about it, or being moved to laugh in any way, shape, or form. The script was an implausible mess of a story that I never gave a damn about. As interesting side notes, however, this movie must have been one of the first feature films to have Danny Glover and Danny Aiello in the cast. It also took place in San Francisco, which was probably the only thing about it I liked (having grown up in the Bay Area, I enjoy seeing places that look familiar on screen). Skip it!
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Out of circulation
Garvey McPherrin26 March 2014
Must be a good kids film. In the mid-80's I watched this CBS broadcast VHS recording several times. For some reason this captivated me. Perhaps because Arkin and Burnett are treasures to watch. I wanted to see this again, but where is it??? It looks like it only had one limited VHS release, and is not even VOD on Warner archives or streaming, nor is it ever mentioned. I believe this received widespread undeserved 1 star ratings in 1981. This deserves more. Back then they released major movies shot on film, wrote stories that weren't franchised, hired talented people, and focused on character development, and had content with redeeming qualities. Little of which is offered in 2014, so I was seeking this out to fill the void.
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Funny, Warm, Inspirational "What a nice thing!"
bunnyisms28 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This has to be the most underrated film of all time! I just love this movie. Everyone has to love this movie; it is funny, inspirational, warm, romantic and entertaining and through all that, it delivers an important message about life. The casting is perfect and the actors play their parts perfectly.

Through the antics of a zany bunch of ragtag misfits, exaggerated characters and a band of bumbling bad guys, we see friendship, caring and most of all, the indomitable human spirit. Emily (Carol Burnett), in her gaudy customs and garish clothes and Flash (Alan Arkin)penniless, homeless and so grateful for a free hot dog that you'd think he'd just been given a million dollars, may be down, but definitely not out, as Flash proclaims, "don't count me out."

You must see this movie. FMC played it on 9/26/07 and maybe they will schedule it again soon. If you can find a CD or tape, it is worth purchasing. Especially show it to your children. Mine loved it and still go around quoting Flash, "What a nice thing!"
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