DAY 342 - 12/8/09 - Movie #342
BEFORE: And this comedy, which is set in the days just AFTER Pearl Harbor. Makes sense, right? I do have my fun...
THE PLOT: Hysterical Californians prepare for a Japanese invasion in the days after Pearl Harbor.
AFTER: By all rights, this movie should have worked, should have been hilarious. You take a comic situation, like college, or a sports team, or in this case the confusion and panic in the early days of WWII - cast a bunch of great comic actors like John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy and so on, plus some stuck-up straight men like Robert Stack and Christopher Lee to play generals, throw in the nostalgia of swing bands and dance contests, and let the fun begin. Hey, it worked for "Animal House" and "Stripes", right?
The problem here is that the whole film devolves into slapstick, which ends up being one of the lowest forms of entertainment. Tanks run over cars, dance-hall riots spill into the street, gas stations blow up - and there's very little rhyme or reason to it all. And someone forgot to make it funny.
Tim Matheson and Nancy Allen have a bit where they're trying to join the mile-high club in a borrowed plane, and John Belushi's crazy pilot, Capt. Wild Bill Kelso, mistakes them for a Japanese fighter. And he tries to shoot them down, over a crowded city full of people. Again, where's the funny part? And why can't anybody do anything without screaming?
This movie got bad critical reviews when it was first released, then got a little more respect over time - but I think maybe the first reactions were right.
Also featuring Ned Beatty, Treat Williams, Warren Oates (Sgt. Hulka from "Stripes"), Joe Flaherty, Wendie Jo Sperber, Lionel Stander (Max from "Hart to Hart") and Eddie Deezen (best known as the nerdy guy in "Wargames" and many other 80's movies...).
RATING: 2 out of 10 torpedoes