Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spies Like Us

Day 355 - 12/21/09 - Movie #355

BEFORE: Speaking of soundtracks, one of the only things I know about this film is that Paul McCartney wrote an original song for it, if memory serves. It may seem weird to waste one of the last few movie slots of the year on a silly 80's spy comedy - but I'm going to re-organize and re-prioritize my list in January, assuming I continue the project, so it's just as well that I get this film off the list now.

THE PLOT: Two bumbling government employees think they are U.S. spies, only to discover that they are actually decoys for Nuclear War.

AFTER: I had the opportunity to meet the great John Landis, this film's director, at the San Diego Comic-Con this past July. He was extremely cool, and just as happy to meet my boss as we all were to meet him. Oddly enough, this film has cameos from two other living legends who I've met - stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam...

I just wish the movie delivered on other fronts - yes, it's a variation on the old "Road to" buddy films of the silver screen (Bob Hope also makes a cameo here) - but Hope and Crosby never made "Road to Pakistan"...Anyway, it's like someone just forgot to make this comedy, you know, funny.

Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase play two wanna-be spies who are also total screw-ups - well, OK, Emmett Fitz-Hume (Chase) is the incompetent screw-up and Austin Millbarge (Aykroyd) is more of a bookworm nerd. But the point is, they're expendable, and they're sent to Pakistan and then the U.S.S.R. as decoys, so the real spies can get their mission done. The mission specs are on a need-to-know basis, and these guys don't even need to know. They just need to be visible, and incompetent.

The mission is apparently to set off a Soviet missile, so the U.S. can test their "Star Wars" missile defense systems, which are designed to shoot down the nuke. But since our heroes don't know this - they think the world's about to end, so they naturally all decide to get in one last roll in the hay, with Donna Dixon (who was and still is married to Aykroyd) and a cute Soviet (Vanessa Angel)

Also starring Bruce Davison and Frank Oz, with cameos by Sam Raimi, Joel Coen (co-director of "Burn After Reading"), and B.B. King.

RATING: 5 out of 10 launch codes

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