The film opens with a daring escape of a convict imprisoned for killing an FBI agent, then moves on to two Seattle detectives chasing a suspect who gets away, destroying a forklift in the process, these two detectives are reassigned to a stakeout, watching the girlfriend of the escaped federal prisoner. One falls in love with her, the escaped convict eventually catches up to her, with them actually, and in the midst of their getaway, the escaped convict learns that his woman's man is a cop, but the two detectives kill him, saving the day.Written by
There is something about Richard Dreyfuss that makes me think of George Clooney. I believe Clooney is one of a very few slate of actors that can make any scene work no matter how good or bad it is written. Dreyfuss is like that too. I remember a particular scene in Jaws when he brings wine over to Brody's house and Brody cracks it open and decides to drink from it. Dreyfuss tries to warn him by saying, " You might want to let that breathe.... nothing, nothing. " He takes a small scene and makes it that much more interesting by his excellent interpretations of who they are. Chris Leece is his best acting since the seventies. He is so much fun to watch and it is his relationship with Bill ( Estevez ) and the other two stakeout cops ( one of them being a very funny Forest Whitaker ) that make this film a treat to watch. Its strengths are its dialogue and acting, and although Badham directs a fast and frenzied film ( much like Beverly Hills Cop ) some of the movie just doesn't fit, especially the end where it resorts to Bruce Willis tactics and ends with explosions and death. But that aside the film excels, and it is a very funny film written by the same guy that had a hand in The Fugitive.
Here we have a film about two cops ( Dreyfuss and Estevez ) that are assigned to watch the home of the girlfriend of an escaped convict that may be on his way back to see her. Dreyfuss ends up getting a little too close to his subject and before long he ends up falling in love with her. This puts Bill in an awkward situation because not only is it against the rules and ethics, but he has to now cover for Chris during briefings with his superiors and he also has to keep the other two cops on the stakeout from finding out about Chris' involvement with their subject. The subject's name is Maria and she is played with richness by Madeline Stowe ( The General's Daughter ).
Some of the hilarity in this film lies with the two sets of cops trying to out do one another in their pranks. It seems that they have worked on stakeouts together before and it is shenanigans like leaving dog poop in the fridge and putting marker on the rims of the binoculars that add some nice comedy to the routine. Dreyfuss also has one hilarious line that had me laughing for quite some time. When they first get their description of who it is that they are watching, it describes Maria as 5'5 and 342 pounds. " 342 pounds! OHHH, she could be the house! "
The film works great as a comedy and only so so as a violent action film. I think the film would have benefitted if it stuck strictly to comedy and instead of reverting to a chase and explosions at the end, they could have written it better so that it is resolved with words and comic genius, just like the rest of the film. But overall this film is worth seeing for its hilarity.
**** One final note. Chris and Bill have movie line contests. It is a great way to pass the time and when Bill asks Chris the one line " Well this was not a boating accident. " Chris doesn't know. That is a nice touch seeing as it was Dreyfuss' Matt Hooper from Jaws that said that. That's a nice piece of inside Hollywood and it plays really well.
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