Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Cannonball Run Review

The last time I saw this movie I was probably about 10 years old.  So I didn't know any of the actors except Burt Reynolds and Jamie Farr.  And I certainly had no clue who James Bond was.  But it was a delightful movie with fast cars and a little bit of cleavage so I liked it.  I felt a little nostalgic and decided to watch it again.  Now, I can see all of the satire and ironic jokes that they placed in there.  That gives me a much better appreciation for the movie as a whole.  But on the flip side, I can also see the numerous flaws and potential to have made it a better movie.

I should probably stop and acknowledge that this was never intended to be anything deep.  It's main characters are played by Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise after all.  It's supposed to be an ensemble comedy where everyone is a screwball.  The problem is that they made the ensemble too big.  Rather than focusing on just four or five quirky duos that are rivals in the race, they bump the number up and give each team its own quirks.  While each one had potential to be very funny with its own character, there is simply not enough screen time that can be devoted to any one to really hold the viewers' interest.  There is also very little interaction between the teams thus hurting any conflict that could have been created.  Everything becomes a self-contained one-off gag that has no bearing on the rest of the movie.

That being said, the one-off gags are usually funny.  The best bits come from the doctor that Deluise finds and the guys in the computerized Subaru (I was surprised when I saw that one of them is Jackie Chan).  Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr are also really good when they get to be on screen.  And Roger Moore's satire of himself as James Bond was funny even if it was a bit familiar.  The rest of the quirky teams could have been scrapped altogether.  Well, except for the girls in the Lamborghini.  We do need cleavage in an 80s screwball comedy after all.

If all you want is a few laughs, you may want to see it because you can likely find it for free somewhere.  Because of its nostalgia value for me, it does get a see recommendation.  But just barely.

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