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Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd were at the height of their professional careers with the 80's "masterpiece" Spies Like Us. The cast alone makes this movie a triumph the 80's comedy. Although the same cast today would find itself on the video shelf and not the movie theaters, for the mid 80's this was a GIANT of a Hollywood cast. Second to only Doctor Strangelove, what other comedy is funnier when dealing with American / Russian relations during the cold war? Chevy and Aykroyd have terrific chemistry together that has been molded to perfection from their success on Saturday Night Live. The physical comedy in the first half of the movie is as funny as any Marx Brother film of its time. The comical situations that occur in the second half are as funny as any Blake Edwards production. Together, the movie is as funny as it gets for the 1980's.
I bought the DVD of this movie for six dollars. Best deal on a movie
I've ever seen. Having been raised in the 90's I missed out on many of
those fantastic 80's films. Dan and Chevy really make the movie work.
Very few actors could have taken a movie with as little plot as Spies
Like Us and turned into a funny soup bowl full of laughs. One more
thing, perhaps the funniest scene in any movie happens early on. Where
Chevy Chase is cheating on the test...Priceless. If you like
over-the-top government action, with hilarious scenes and horrible
attempts to hit on beautiful women. You'll love this movie.
If not...Then you need to take a moment to look at your life, relax, and just enjoy something every once in a while.
I'm surprised this movie isn't higher rated. No, it's not "Lawrence of
Arabia" but not every movie has to be "artistically respectable". Just look
at the names of the two main characters, Emmett Fitz-Hume and Austin
Milbarge, and you know what you're in for.
Aykroyd and Chase are hilarious and this movie is a laugh a minute. Yes, there are dumb jokes, slapstick humor, ridiculous scenarios and odd cameos (doctor? doctor?)...But that's what's great about it, you just turn your brain off and take it in.
I've seen this movie a hundred times and could watch it a hundred more, I guess it's one of those "love it or hate it" things. But "we mock what we don't understand".
For Chevy Chase fans, this film displays one of his vintage
performances---right up there with a couple of his "Vacation" films and
"Fletch." He and Dan Aykroyd form a great comedic duo with great
chemistry that will leave you wanting for more.
The setting changes rapidly from DC, to Pakistan, to the former Soviet Union. Chase and Aykroyd are identified as expendable Department of State personnel, and therefore trained as covert agent decoys and tasked with an ultra top-secret mission deep inside Soviet territory. The newly appointed agent/spies don't realize they're decoys, but rather, think they're real agents on a real mission. Good stuff.
Together, their bumbling antics throughout agent training and their top-secret mission are good for steady laughs from beginning to end, as they find themselves playing the "accidental hero" role charged with saving the world.
Very scenic locations, some decent special effects (for the mid-80's), and some serious plot-twists amidst the silly humor enables "Spies Like Us" to hold the viewer's attention in-between comedic situations.
I loved this movie growing up, and it is one that I can still laugh at
today. Chase and Aykroyd have always set the mid-80's standard
of what was funny, and this movie proves it. Of course there are
flaws, and it probably could've been better...but for what it's worth, I
think it's definitely worth owning, let alone watching.
Judging by the comments given about Spies Like Us, it seems most people, in fact, do like it. Of course, it is meant to be a comedy and nothing else. If people were looking for a break-through in film by watching Spies Like Us, then, Yes...you would be let down.
Good characters, akward situations, nice changes in scenery, and classic one-liners....I'd give it an 8, overall.
Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd put the "F" in funny in the movie "Spies Like Us". There's something big going on in Russia. Two government workers are sent out to be spies in different countries. They go to the Middle East, they head out to Russia to scope out a nuclear missile being launched. Unbeknowst to them, they aren't trained to be spies, they're trained to be decoys(sitting ducks)! The Middle East was a hoot. Hanged upside-down when Emmett Hume(Chase) explained to the people that they're Americans. The first part was funny when they fail to perform the appendectomy to a patient. They got their big break when the attack enemy lines and bomb out the foreign police. It was ultra funny when the two faux spies checked out the missile and the crew-persons who came out of the tent. Anything else would be boring. At least the men ended up being heroes. Funny, side-splitting, and totally non-stop laughter to make this movie worth its while. 3 out of 5 stars!
I first saw Spies Like Us when I was a kid, when Chevy Chase was my
favourite actor. I must have seen it about fifty times since then and I
am almost word-perfect on the script. However, I've never owned the DVD
since Warner have never released it in its original 1.85:1 aspect
ratio. Thankfully it is currently available in HD on the PlayStation
Emmett Fitz-Hume and Austin Millbarge (Chase and Aykroyd) are two lowly government workers who are suddenly promoted to the elite GLG-20 spy status after they are caught cheating on a test. What they don't know is that they are just decoys to draw heat away from the real spies and are promptly dumped straight into enemy territory.
Chase and Aykroyd have great chemistry together and I'm surprised they didn't work together much after this (although they did hook up for The Couch Trip, Caddyshack 2 and Nothing But Trouble). There's loads of fun to had in watching them bumble from one zany situation from the next. And, as this is a Landis film, there are director cameos all over the place. Keep a lookout for Terry Gilliam, Martin Brest, Joel Coen, Sam Raimi etc.
Despite the fanbase, Warner have never showed this film any respect or given special treatment of any kind when it comes to the home video market. As I already said, as of yet the only DVD available is the fullscreen version from 1998. Even the HD version I watched was from a very murky print and has terrible sound. If Warner make a Blu Ray from this master it's still not worth buying.
Give it a rent unless a proper remaster is done. Which is unlikely.
Two inept CIA recruits (Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd) are chosen to act as decoy spies while the real spies complete a top secret mission, only the two don't know they aren't real spies. Hilarious Cold War comedy from John Landis in the tradition of the classic Hope & Crosby 'Road' movies. Despite some swearing and sexy parts (mild by Landis standards), this is a very old school type of comedy. The jokes come from putting two top comedians in funny situations and letting them cut loose. Aykroyd and Chase have perfect chemistry and timing. It's a shame that, unlike Hope & Crosby, they didn't do more than one movie like this. There's a great mix of verbal and physical comedy here. Lots of memorable lines and scenes. Love the music, too. A must for fans of Landis or the two stars. I would recommend it to fans of the old Road movies, as well.
Dan Ackroyd stars as the typical CIA think-tank intelligence analyst and Chevy Chase is our answer to the inept, stupid, lazy and bungling agent who wouldn't even pass the first interview in the REAL world of spying. These two collide (comically) with each other in a complicated scheme orchestrated by rebellious military and civillians where they are used as a "distraction" from the real mission. Ackroyd's leadership enables them to survive to complete their mission while the lascivious Chase spends most of his time thinking like the typical male. When they find a Soviet mobile missile launcher and then receive instructions from their rebellious controllers to "accidently" send the thing on it's way to a target in the US, only the quick thinking of Ackroyd can save the day. This movie has some great comic elements as well as good action scenes with decent stunts. Chevy Chase never fails to entertain with his suave, intelligent(he only acts stupid) and sexy character he made famous in other roles. Dan Ackroyd is GREAT as the straight man who keeps Chevy out of trouble. Add this one to your collection of DVD movies in the comedy section on your shelf!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Usually it speaks well for a movie if it is controversial and divisive.
However, a quick perusal of user comments for Spies Like Us will show
that there is no controversy over politics, morality, or historical
accuracy. Apparently, you either like this movie or you don't.
I like it. I love it. Always have, always will. That doesn't mean I'm going to be the foremost partisan and start bashing people on the head who disagree. But as one who feels that this flick is worth a watch, at the very least, so that the viewer can decide for him/herself, I think it is my clear duty to say why Spies Like Us rocks my world. I can't make a guarantee: "You'll love this movie!" But I do firmly believe that it is at least worth the three bucks to rent it for a week.
Summary without spoilers: Spies Like Us is the story of two government rubes--Chevy Chase is Emmet Fitzhume, a low-level D.C.-based diplomat, with next to no dedication to his work; he just followed blindly in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Austin Milbarge is a code-breaker and all-things-electric guru who works a dead-end job in the subterranean bowels of the Pentagon. Both men want something more, and have signed up for the Foreign Service exam. However they become the pawns in a deadly cloak-and-dagger operation run by a secretive government agency that fronts as the Ace Tomato Company and the commander of an underground Air Force base. Soon Austin and Emmet find themselves hurried through training and thrust into a mission that will take them across Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.
Well there's your back-of-box story. So far it doesn't sound very different from Three Days of the Condor, or Sneakers, or some other movie without Robert Redford (hey, Spies Like Us doesn't have Robert Redford, so there you go). But of course this movie is laced heavily throughout with Ackroyd's strait-laced goofiness and Chase's masterful physical ineptitude. It may not have been a stretch for either one of these men to perform their characters...maybe they really did just walk onto the set, do their thing, sign some autographs, flirt with actresses, collect their pay and scoot. But "doing their thing" is what works for these guys. It's like Adam Sandler--he does his schtick and you laugh or you groan.
I have to disagree heartily with those comments that put down the directing and the script. This is one of the most quotable movies I know, for better or for worse, and while I wasn't really watching for direction too much, I found nothing seriously amiss. I think this movie, as a broad comedy, works.
Granted: this movie was etched onto my brain at a very tender age. I saw it in the theater at the age of five. I watched it again and again for years, up to the present day. It is dear to me, and so I probably graciously look past its flaws. If you are so annoyed at anachronism, eighties movies, star comic duos, inane jokes, cameos, and improbable endings that you just cannot, will not think of anything else while you watch, then you just may not like it all that much, or possibly you're just a stuffed shirt.
The cameos: Frank Oz, B.B. King, Terry Gilliam, John Landis, et al. Hey, when I was a kid the only cameo I actually recognized was Bob Hope, so it didn't bother me at all. Of course, having never seen a Hope movie at that point, I didn't much get it anyway.
Further comment on another track: this movie is also a broad satire, the subtlety of which is often almost eclipsed by the jokes and pratfalls. But if you look for it, it's there at every turn. If you didn't live through part of the Cold War, it may not be very obvious at all, or may merely appear dull and lifeless. But this movie took place in the midst of perestroika. This time was a curious mix of paranoia, fear, threat, tentative cooperation and normalization. And of course part of it is set in Afghanistan towards the end of the Soviet war there, a region which has taken on an entirely new meaning in the last few years in the minds of any American exposed to the popular press. I like to think that the satire still works; indeed it is very like Dr. Strangelove, but while the latter movie was comic-absurdist, Spies Like Us appropriates the power of Strangelove and subsumes it under hilarity. It is up to the individual viewer to decide if this works or not.
Finally, once again, the script: I think it really works. I think Ackroyd and Chase and, indeed, most of the other actors nail it. The dialogue between the Ace Tomato boys and the Air Force general is pretty fun. Some scripts just stink, and others are undeniably superb, and others can go either way. A joke can stand or fall. I don't deliver jokes very well, but someone else can take my exact words and make it funny. Monty Python, for instance, I think is freakin' hilarious---BUT, when I hear anybody else try to imitate their style, delivery or writing, I usually think it's incredibly dorky, lame, and irritating, which is to say absolutely unbearable. A case in point would be my college humor magazine, which confined itself to attempted British humor and Mac/PC/Windows/Linux jokes, and often tried to combine the two. Dreadful. But check out the quotes page for this movie, and try to imagine the lines being delivered by the actors. What looks flat in print often comes to life on the screen.
Here's a little sample, perhaps a mild SPOILER: It starts with Russian KGB, in dialogue with Fitzhume (with apologies for errors; it's been a while): (Brandishing shiny blade) "Every thirty seconds you do not tell us why you're here, I cut off a finger." "Mine or yours?" "Yours." "Damn!" "You have twenty seconds." "You're not going to start humming the theme from Jeopardy, are you?(Gets slapped by second KGB.) Why are you still hitting me? He's gonna cut my fingers off!"
Okay, so now I'm really done--if you consider yourself intelligent and receptive to different kinds of humor, from high-brow to low-brow, from Coen bros to the Farrelly bros, and are willing to look past a few inherent flaws, I think there is a good chance, maybe 65%, that you will really like this movie. So give it a go.
It's a helluva lot better than Mamet.
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