4-Movie Marathon: Comedy Favorites [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Dan Aykroyd must have practiced for months to perfect his Jack Webb inflections for Dragnet. Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz's directorial debut (also written by Mankiewicz, along with Aykroyd, and Alan Zweibel) is a gentle spoof of the legendary '50s television police drama -- pitting '50s conservatism smack up against the attitudes of the '80s. Basically, the film is another 48 Hours or Beverly Hills Cop clone. Aykroyd stars as Joe Friday, the nephew of the original Friday. But with his brown suit, fedora, and lockjaw, he could just as well be the incarnation of Jack Webb. He is involuntarily assigned a smart alecky, street-wise partner, Pep Streebeck (Tom Hanks), and they are appointed to investigate a series of religious cult murders in L.A. The two cops follow the trail to a phony televangelist, the Reverend Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer). From there, they are only at step away from uncovering an Orange County-based religious cult calling itself P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness and Normalcy). After sneaking into a secret ceremony, Friday falls in love with the sacrificial victim Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul). So much so that even after his superior Captain Gannon (Harry Morgan, reprising his role from the '60s revival of the Dragnet program) orders him off the case, Friday continues on, with the requisite car chases and crashes that usually climax any '80s cop movie or comedy. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Pure Luck
This wacky buddy comedy was the fifth in a series of Hollywood remakes of films by French director Francis Veber, none of which were box office successes. Sheila Kelley is Valerie Highsmith, an heiress who, despite her family's wealth, suffers from horribly bad luck. On a vacation to Mexico, she takes a fall, causing amnesia, then is mugged and kidnapped for ransom. When her father (Sam Wanamaker) becomes frustrated with the failed attempts of a detective, Ray Campanella (Danny Glover) to find his daughter, he teams a very reluctant Ray with Eugene Proctor (Martin Short), an accountant whose bumbling bad luck is even worse than Valerie's. The theory is that perhaps two such incredibly unlucky people will act like magnets, with Eugene leading Ray to Valerie's location. Although Ray finds Eugene irritating, the unlikely partners eventually begin making surprising progress in the case, despite Eugene's never-ending screw-ups and pratfalls. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

Ultimate manly man Arnold Schwarzenegger learns what it's like to be an expectant mother in director Ivan Reitman's high-concept comedy. Schwarzenegger plays Dr. Hess, a medical researcher working on a revolutionary drug to help mothers carry endangered infants to term. When government regulations prevent Dr. Hess from testing the drug through normal channels, his partner Dr. Arbogast (Danny DeVito) develops an unorthodox solution: they will steal a female egg and implant it in Hess, who will carry the child himself. Predictably, much of the subsequent humor centers on the incongruous sight of the muscular Schwarzenegger undergoing the trials and tribulations of pregnancy, from morning sickness to labor pains. Emma Thompson returns to her comic roots and provides romantic interest as an incorrigibly clumsy but intelligent scientist who catches on to Hess' deception. Reitman, Schwarzenegger, and DeVito had previously had a hit with Twins (1988), which revolved around a similarly ludicrous medical premise, but they failed to repeat that film's success here, as audiences largely ignored the film and reviewers criticized the humor as disappointingly obvious. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

The central "gimmick" of the comedy-adventure Twins is established early on. Unbeknownst to one another, king-sized Arnold Schwarzenegger and gnomeish Danny De Vito are twin brothers. Even better: Schwarzenegger is a mild-mannered, bookish type, while De Vito is a vitriolic troublemaker. The film takes satiric jabs at the notion of "perfect" genetics, and makes several pointed comments concerning the dangers of youthful pre-conditioning by insensitive parents. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Dan Aykroyd
    Dan Aykroyd - Sgt. Joe Friday
  • Tom Hanks
    Tom Hanks - Pep Streebek
  • Christopher Plummer
    Christopher Plummer - Rev. Jonathan Whirley
  • Harry Morgan
    Harry Morgan - Capt. Bill Gannon
  • Alexandra Paul
    Alexandra Paul - Connie Swail
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