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Cops & Robbersons

Rated PG, 93 min. Directed by Michael Ritchie. Starring Chevy Chase, Jack Palance, Dianne Wiest, Robert Davi, David Barry Gray, Jason James Richter, Fay Masterson, Mike Hughes.

REVIEWED By Pamela Bruce, Fri., April 22, 1994

Poor Chevy Chase. What with his track record of a ho-hum film career and recent inability to cut it in the late-night network TV talk kingdom of Letterman and Leno Land, one would think that he might take a hint, invest in cattle futures, and retire. Nevertheless, Chase teams up with director Ritchie (Fletch, Fletch Lives) for a third time, but it's no charm. Just another dud of a comedy where Chase remains blandly consistent as Norman Robberson, a bumbling, middle-class cardigan-and-deck-shoes suburban dad who is an armchair cop in the guise of an everyday accountant. Little does he know (which seems glaringly inconsistent given his characterization as a policeophile) that right next door, a dangerous, wanted criminal (Davi) resides. Norman's law-enforcement dreams come true when two undercover detectives -- one, a grizzled 30-year veteran (Palance, once again, typecast as the rugged, taut-faced sexagenarian who's “been there and back”), the other, a young rookie (Gray) who looks like he has just been promoted from hall-monitor status -- approach him in order to launch a stake-out in his home. Ritchie's direction is so subtle, one wonders if it was just faxed to the set, and Bernie Somers' first-time screenplay goes from tepid to flat with a formulaic pattern usually found in television sitcoms. The laughs are also few and far between, as Chase cakewalks through the same role he's been playing for the past 10 or so years. Do us a favor, Chevy, and call your broker -- now!
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