Wednesday 8 November 2017

Movie Review: Cops And Robbersons (1994)

A feeble comedy, Cops And Robbersons contains no laughs and plenty of stupidity.

Norman and Helen Robberson (Chevy Chase and Dianne Wiest) are a typical married couple raising their three kids in suburbia. Norman is a television police show geek, but his family is drifting apart. Veteran cop Jake Stone (Jack Palance) and his younger partner Tony Moore (David Barry Gray) need to set up a stakeout to keep close tabs on master forger and killer Osborn (Robert Davi), who happens to live next door to the Robbersons.

Jake and Tony invade Norman's house and set up an observation post in an upstairs bedroom. The family struggles to adjust to the unwelcome visitors, but gradually Jake starts to earn the respect of the Robbersons in a way that Norman never could. With Osborn plotting a big new deal, Norman interferes with the stakeout, frustrating Jake, while Norman's daughter Cindy (Fay Masterson) sets her eyes on the dishy young Tony.

Directed by Michael Ritchie and written by Lindsay Maher, Cops and Robbersons is 93 minutes of abject tedium. Only fans of Chevy Chase enthralled by his stupid family guy schtick will find any pleasure in an underdeveloped and tired story that never gains any traction. The characters are barely defined, the evil crimes of Osborn are mostly unexplained, and both the police work and the attempted comedy are half hearted and generally comatose.

The film is largely housebound, the energy level static, the production values reeking of an underfunded television show.

With almost nothing to work with, Ritchie leans heavily on Jack Palance, and he hisses his way through the film in a caricature of his late career City Slickers-propelled resurgence. The problem is that Palance, here at age 75, is far too old to be a convincing cop and genuinely seems to be struggling to get his lines out. The only tension in the film is whether Palance the actor will make it through his scenes intact.

Cops And Robbersons has neither chuckles nor action: just stars and a director who should know better, wallowing in the muck.

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  1. I find most of cheby chase's movies to be unfunny. not a fan of his brand of humour, although I did find Fletch ok.

    1. I'm with you there...there must have been a time and place where his particular brand of stupid behaviour was considered hilarious. It's lost on me now.


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