Honestly, if any person watched this today, and could laugh, he or she would be instantly hired for a "laugh track" audience. It defines "dated".
And I hate the word "dated". It's incorrectly used a lot. When a film is set in nineteenth century Tombstone, it is supposed to have characters and events that feel like nineteenth century Tombstone. Remarkably, it is the older Wyatt Earp films that are actually less dated. Not saying they are better, but they are less "dated".
Here, we see the mores of 1980, but only as felt by the "outdated" blue bloods like Neil Simon.
We see here the proof that Simon has always been overrated. He is a modern day "Homer". Homer's works survive not because he was a literary giant. They survive because he was the champion brown noser. The Iliad and Odyssey are complete brown nosing works of powerful rulers.
And that's all Simon is. The seventies gave us the worst ever in movies. But the comedies were usually still good. The mores were changing, and 1980 was the cusp.
Here, Simon has a "blueblood" comedy with upper society folks being white, except for an obvious token black couple, and all the underlings being anything but Anglo-Saxon.
Now this was not only severe discrimination against the usual minorities for obvious reasons, but just as much against the Anglo Saxons who weren't in the upper class. In fact, that group doesn't exist in Simon's world.
In Simon's world, not only are all minorities crooks and con artists, but they are failures if they aren't, except for the obvious token black couple, which is just way too obvious to audiences now.
It was obvious to people then, too, but just not the people who could afford tickets to theaters. They were hideously behind the times.
In fact, the racism of this piece surpasses any racism we see in works of the situational comedies of the forties, fifties, and sixties. And it is worse because Simon and his groupies really believed they were "modern" thinkers.
As for this work, it involves Chevy Chase as a writer who is kidnapped by crooks to rob a bank. Chase is good in good roles, but he can't carry a pitifully written role like this one. His character is boring and not a bit likable. Chevy is likable. And the hope here is that he is likable enough to cover a poor character. Even Cary Grant would have a tough time making us care about this character.
The other characters are just as dull. We're given the "likable" bank robbers. Real funny guys with guns. That was the mind set of the seventies, but only to wackos like Neil Simon's crowd. Not to most people, who were way ahead of them.
This isn't the worst movie ever made. You can sit through it without squirming, but probably not without groaning, or looking at the clock. It is dull.
This does show what the "blue bloods" of that era actually thought was "the future" and what they thought was "progressive", but rest assured, the 90% who you didn't hear from thought it was backwards. And we've seen a progression since then, which does make this a "dated" piece.
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