'Detective School Dropouts'
(David Landsberg, Lorin Dreyfuss, et al / DVD / NR / (1986) 2011 / Warner Bros. Archive Collection)
Overview: Two of the most inept detectives that ever bungled a case find themselves way over their heads in this wacky action adventure that leads them from Los Angeles to Rome and Venice. Trying to reunite a pair of misplaced lovers, our incompetent duo begin a crazed caper with two Italian families - feuding for 1,700 years!
DVD Verdict: I think I was ten when I first saw this movie at the theaters and I can honestly say I have never laughed so hard and uncontrollably at any film in my life. Granted, today the movie does look dated and suffers from some poor picture and sound quality, but I urge you to try and see beyond that.
This is a small masterpiece. David Landsberg's honest but clumsy Wilson is perfectly balanced by Dreyfuss' seedy, fast-talking character. Anyway, the movie has several well timed running gags (the hurt hand, the old lady whose pictures are always messed up, etc.) some hilarious chase sequences (my fave being a chase through a movie set), and a cheesy yet quirky soundtrack give an overall sense of outrageousness.
The plot is just credible enough to make the comedy work and the action sequences are well done but not lended so much weight that they distract. Landsberg and Dreyfuss (both of whom also wrote the film) have a keen sense of comic timing, and play off of each other like pros. (Also noteworthy is that this film introduced me to the Italian beauty Valeria Golina, several years before Rainman!).
I've seen Landsberg in the occasional supporting role on TV and in film but I've never seen Dreyfuss before or since! It's a shame these two didn't make more films, and in a way it's sad that this film didn't do better. But now it's out on DVD, go buy it and have a wonderful night inside on a cold, wintery get together. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Warner Archive Collection