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Doctor Detroit
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Doctor Detroit More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Doctor Detroit

7/10
Author: madmanmarkd from United States
8 November 2005

I remember seeing this movie on VHS while I worked at a video rental store in the 80's. I thought it was a funny campy movie but Hey! I like these kind of movies now and then. I always like Dan Akroyd movies so it didn't matter if this was not up to snuff with the likes of Ghostbusters or Blues Brothers. It was hard to believe he made that film then. I recently acquired this movie on laserdisc just about a week ago. I had not seen the movie since the 80's. I since taped over my VHS dub many years ago. It was great to sit down and have a few laughs and once again see the 'Doctor' in action. The picture is clean with only a few spots and scratches. The sound is only analog and not digital but delivers very surprising and powerful for an older movie. It's a fun film never the less. Yeah! it was no box office smash or a great comedy or action film, but there's just something about these lesser movies that brings you back to a better time. Dan does a great job even with the film's downfalls. Hey he got a great wife out of the deal marrying Donna Dixon from the film! It falls in the category with the likes of 'Howard the Duck'. Both were box office failures but there are still those devoted fans out there still searching for these 'gems' everyday. So for me the 'Doctor' is always 'in' my movie collection.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

An in depth look at the human psyche

Author: debtman from Columbus, OH
17 April 2000



In this move, Aykroyd presents a fresh look at what makes a man tick, his desires, feeling, emotions and passions. Aykroyd plays Clifford Skridlow, a somewhat nerdish college professor who is timid and mildly neruotic. This character speaks to a lot of us as we walk our way through life, often unnoticed and unsatisfied with our interactions with others. Longing for nothing but happiness, we weave our way through the obstacles of life much as Clifford rushes through the quad on the way to class, taunted and laughed at by the students surrounding him. But this isn't just another movie designed to identify with unsatisfied loners.

While enjoying dinner at an Indian Restauraunt (symbolizing the social and cultural diversity of humanity), Clifford is picked out by a local pimp to act as a scapegoat to avoid debt to Mom, of the infamous Mom's Limo Company. How many times have you been picked by those more successful than you to take the blame? It's getting a little to real at this point, as the action picks up it's pace. Clifford must invent an inner personality to cope with the feelings of rejection and hatred, and the character Doctor Detroit is born. He embodies all that Clifford wishes he could be, suave, feared, respected, wealthy, and adored by women. The metal hand on his left arm is a not so subtle attempt to portray the desire of the weak to be strong.

The strong reference to Nietzsche's idea of men rising up from the ashes and becoming a strong race of supermen cannot be ignored at this point, and it's clear that this is more than just a silly comedy. With his newfound alter-ego and inner strength, the doctor conquers evil and saves the day. In a triumphant final speed, the Doctor retires his inner personality encouraging the gathered crowd to be strong and find their own inner selves, while returning to a life of a normal, unknown man.

But what will happen to him? Why did he choose to let his inner self die? Was this a sacrifice, or a lack of courage? What would Nietzsche think about this complex analysis? This movie will leave you asking these any many questions. Highly recommended, especially as an introduction to other great works such as Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Campy as heck

5/10
Author: slaususe2 from St. Louis, MO
23 June 2000

This is not the type of movie you watch for the clever plot and well-defined characters. This is a cheap, bawdy comic romp to be enjoyed with the fellas at a weekend get-together or at a bachelor party. Where else can you see a nubile young Fran Drescher wearing next to nothing and James Brown urging a crowd of scantily clad dancers to "get up offa that thang" in the same movie?

Nothing wrong with a little mindless entertainment, especially since Dr. Detroit doesn't pretend to be anything else.

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13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

A prototypical '80s comedy

10/10
Author: Cacus7 from San Antonio, TX, USA
16 April 2002

This may be my very favorite comedy of the 1980s. Dan Aykroyd plays a hilarious dual role as the mild-mannered Clifford Skridlow and the off-the-wall Dr. Detroit. Howard Hesseman is perfect as a pimp who can't take the heat and puts the blame on Aykroyd to take care of things. It may not be the best written of the '80s comedies, but the unforgettable characters and situations make this a movie that you'll want to watch over and over again. Please release this on DVD! I can't stand my laserdisc copy anymore!

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A Silly Comedic Gem

10/10
Author: Cacus7 from San Antonio, TX, USA
1 May 2003

"Doctor Detroit" ranks in my top five comedy films ever. Though I was not old enough to see it when originally released, it has since become a diehard favorite of mine and my friends. It is not so much an "intelligent" comedy, as seems to the trend recently. But it is definitely good old '80s fun.

The story is inventive, and the characters well-thought-out and well-played. Dan Aykroyd is perfect as the geeky college professor turned hero. T.K. Carter brings laughs as Diavolo, the well-connected limo driver. And Kate Murtagh is hilarious in her role as "Mom", the shady owner of a limo service.

This really just a fun, silly movie which will give you a 90-minute shot of escapism. It is worth seeing if for no other reason than the costume that Aykroyd dons as he becomes "Dr. Detroit." I find it a shame that the movie has yet to see a DVD release -- I have to make do with my 20 year old Laserdisc copy. But if you can find this at your local video store, RENT IT! You won't be sorry.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

One of My All-Time Favorites!

9/10
Author: brokenshelf from United States
6 August 2005

I actually grew up watching this movie. No, my parents didn't neglect me. They just understood good comedy - even when it involved hookers. I loved this movie even though I didn't understand half of the jokes. It began my lifelong love affair with James Brown at the tender age of seven. I would run around the house singing "Get Up Offa That Thing", entertaining my whole family. As I got older I could appreciate the humor and that made it all the better. In my eyes this will always be a classic, and I will continue to subject my friends to it's VHS (formerly Beta) greatness. And P.S. I am so sad that it is not available on DVD yet.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

An Unknown Gem!

8/10
Author: raypdaley182 from Coventry
24 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Take a bit of Don Quixote, Trading Places, Risky Business and The Nutty Professor. Throw in Dan Ackroyd, Howard Hesseman and Fran Drescher.

And you have Dr Detroit.

A film that I think was most likely never released outside of the USA. Which is a shame as it has a good plot, good characters and good set pieces that drive the film well.

Combine some excellent 80's music, throw in pimps and James Brown for good measure and you have one of Dan's best films and this does not deserve to be as unknown as is it.

It has all the ingredients for a cult classic and really does deserve DVD release worldwide.

Dan plays a mild mannered college Professor who is chosen by Hesseman as his made-up partner Dr Detroit. Hesseman owes money to Mom, a big-time hood in his local city and has no intention of paying. So he creates Dr Detroit, his business partner who will pay Mom and skips town.

Leaving Dan to create Dr Detroit and look after the hookers and either pay off Mom or run her out of town.

This doesn't look dated for an 80's movie, it's well shot and was pretty funny. I highly recommend you watch it.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The Doctor is "IN"!

Author: george.schmidt (gpschmidt67@gmail.com) from fairview, nj
6 March 2003

DOCTOR DETROIT (1983) **1/2 Dan Aykroyd, Howard Hesseman, Donna Dixon, Fran Drescher, TK Carter, George Furth, James Brown. Aykroyd has a field day as milquetoast college professor who unwittingly is enlisted by a pimp to assume the identity of a ganglord mack daddy as the eponymous not-to-be-trifled man about town. Frequently funny especially his tete a tete with his archenemy, Mom, in a junk yard: `Mom, I'm gonna rip off your head and s**t down your neck!' Brown's appearance livens things up with a neat, goofy dance spotlight for the antic Aykroyd

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Silly comedy

5/10
Author: ctomvelu-1 from United States
9 July 2008

Dan Ackroyd in his prime essays the role of DOCTOR DETROIT, a comic superpimp. In his regular life, Doctor Detroit is a meek college professor right out of a Golden Era slapstick comedy like Cary Grant in "Bringing Up Baby" or Gary Cooper in "Ball of Fire" or even Danny Kaye in the remake, "A Song Is Born." Why and how the professor turns into this larger-than-life, scratchy-voiced pimp is what the movie is all about. And in the end, the Doctor must face down Mom, a notorious gangster. Problem with the movie is Ackroyd was not scheduled to play the role. If memory serves, it was John Belushi, who had died rather suddenly. So Ackroyd steps in to save the day, except he simply isn't funny as the Doctor. He is fine as the professor, however. Ackroyd's soon-to-be, real-life wife Donna Dixon is his love interest.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Only watch it if you're already in the mood to laugh

5/10
Author: MBunge from Waterloo, Iowa
29 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of those comedies that largely forsakes jokes and tries to get by on attitude. It establishes a potentially humorous situation, but then the script seems to run out of gas and the cast is left to try and mug their way to a few laughs. They have some success at that and at only 89 minutes, Doctor Detroit never wears out its welcome. If this thing didn't star Dan Akroyd, however, there's no way it would still be around decades later.

Clifford Skridlow (Dan Akroyd) is a fully geeked out professor at a small Chicago college. One morning, while out for a power walk, Skridlow comes to the attention of a pimp named Smooth Walker (Howard Hessman) and his towncar full of "ladies". He makes such an impression that when Smooth finds himself being squeezed by a crime boss named Mom (Kate Murtagh), he invents a partner named Doctor Detroit and ropes Skridlow into playing the role. While Smooth slips out of town, it's Skridlow/Doctor Detroit who has to deal with Mom and her thugs. As if that's not enough, Skridlow also has to make sure nothing goes wrong when a rich alumnus comes to town to present a check that'll save the college from financial disaster. It all culminates at a downtown hotel where Skridlow has to MC an alumni dinner in one wing while also appearing as Doctor Detroit at a "Playa's Ball" in the other.

You've really got to be in a good mood to enjoy this film. If you're even a bit cranky, you're going to notice that it's not all that funny. Aside from Skridlow's transformation, complete with metal gauntlet and a wig that makes him look like Paul Williams after sticking his finger in a light socket, there's little here that will provoke spontaneous laughter. I'm not sure if there's even half a dozen honest punch lines in the whole movie.

What Doctor Detroit does have is a good natured energy and a tone of mild amusement woven through a simple, yet mechanically effective, plot. The whole cast, even the bad guys, exudes a basic likability and the story even offers up a woefully underdeveloped theme about pimps being the agents of chivalry in the modern world. Dan Akroyd was still a big enough deal back in 1983 to take those loose threads and tie them all together to make a little comedy shawl. It's not enough to keep anyone warm or keep the rain off but if the weather is just right, it's a nice accessory.

If you're already in a good mood and only want to be diverted, Doctor Detroit wouldn't be a bad choice. If you need to be cheered up, this film doesn't have the horsepower to do it.

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