Starring: John Murray as Dana Cannon
Jennifer Tilly as Amy Hopkins
James Keach as Deputy Halik
Wendie Jo Sperber as Joan Pudillo
Dedee Pfeiffer as Cissy
Written by: Pat Proft and Neal Isreal
- A Dean Wormer-esque authority figure (played by James Keach as a traffic cop) who despises a lowly group of misfits, led by a slovenly good-time Belushi-like guy (played by Murray)
- A ” When the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor” rallying cry from said good-time guy.
- A incident involving the bedding of a girl who admits she’s underage pre-coitus (though no tissues were used to stuff the bra).
- A sexually aggressive female authority figure, though this time its Sally Kellerman as a judge who stands in for Dean Wormer’s cucumber-comparing wife.
- A finale that features a downtown parade that erupts into calamity and confusion.
- A float being commandeered by our heroes and driven at high rates of speed.
- A beauty queen atop of said float in said parade who dutifully stays put and waves to the crowds.
- A “where are they now” blurb at the end credits on the fate of our protagonist landscaper.
I’m sure a more trained eye could pick up more, but at this point I felt I had spent way to much time in my CSI-like analysis on it.
Some other items I did glean from the viewing include:
- A blink-and-you-missed-it cameo from one Don Cheadle as a fast food employee. (His only line was “Can I take your order?” repeated a handful of times.)
- The film boasted the name of Clara Peller in the opening credits, better known as the “Where’s the Beef?” lady from the 80s Wendy’s commercials. (Are you really sure that’s a hook you want to hang your film on? That’s like saying, “Special appearance by The Noid,” or “Featuring the comedic stylings of the “Dude you got a Dell” guy.)
- James Keach is actually the more charismatic lead in the film as the psychotic motorcycle cop whose slow seething turns into violent rage. Though by the film’s conclusion he’s reduced to parading around in a dog collar and leather undies — best not to ask.
- The horror-film afficionado was actually more amusing than I remembered, especially when he was stoked to see one of those gore-soaked “instructional films” titled “Blood Runs Red on the Highway.” I remember being shown such a PSA (similar to this one) in grade school in which a log carrier accidentally unloads its cargo at a high rate of speed through the windshield of an unsuspecting reckless driver. Yes, in grade school. Is it any wonder I turned out worshipping the works of gory effects masters such as Rob Bottin, Rick Baker and Stan Winston?
New Memories: I admit to still getting a few chuckles from this film made on the fly (it was written in a month and shot and released within six). When a girl says, “My ride’s here, it’s my sister…” and a nun pulls up in a Chrystler is classic stuff and what’s not funny about a lowly puppeteer being abused by the same kiddie audience he’s trying to entertain?). And this scene is quite cute:
It cannot be forgiven, though, that they cast the go-to guy for stiff-shirt comedy, Mr. Fred Willard, and fail to use him for his true potential. But what truly amazes me is that I ever found John Murray’s performance to be notable for his wit or charm. And I am thankful that I did not follow my admiration of his role to more extreme lengths, as I am pretty sure I’d make a lousy landscaper.