Friday, May 20, 2011

Dirty Tricks

(Alvin Rakoff, 1981)

Having already given us laughable disaster and hilarious horror, Rakoff actually TRIES to be funny here, with predictable results: horrific, disastrous, etc. The most visible irritant is Elliott Gould’s wacky sidekick Rich Little, who as always could wipe the smile off Bozo’s face, and by all appearances he brought his writers with him: the antics center on a forgery designed to convince the world that George Washington took payola from the British. This occasions several visceral and patriotic demonstrations of why high school history was so unendurably vacuous – only, hmmm, it’s set at Harvard. I’ve always liked Kate Jackson, but that doesn’t mean I want to hear her attempt an Alabama-bred Boston accent. And Gould’s usual freewheeling asides merely expose his richly-earned contempt for this material. Also featuring: two atrociously dubbed muscle men with Village People moustaches, two hit-persons who you can tell are Italian because composer Hagood Hardy lets loose with the gondola-on-Po-River clich├ęs every time they show up, and a rogue surveillance truck that exists solely to facilitate humorous car-crashes. There's even a fucking fruit truck gag,

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