Sometimes the chemistry between the right two stars is all it takes to sell a pedestrian and predictable story, and few movies put that to the test better than "Stakeout". The unlikely pairing of Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez must have sounded like a tough sell, but their relationship is the big draw in this fairly predictable picture and turns it into a pleasant surprise,
The two actors play off of each other marvelously and are clearly having a great time as the film itself shifts through about a half dozen genres. The constantly shifting tones only ensures that you will never be bored. It is essentially a buddy cop movie, and the stars keep it fresh while veteran filmmaker John Badham keeps things energetic and surprisingly light despite some seedy and needlessly violent moments.
The screenplay is chock full of cliches, but writer Jim Kouf can be quite imaginative when he needs to be and he keeps coming up with clever bits to keep the proceedings enjoyable. A great example is the scene where Dreyfuss sleeps over at Madeleine Stowe's place for the first time. And speaking of Stowe, she is radiant here giving a breakthrough performance. It's a shame that her star didn't shine brighter and longer, but co-star Aidan Quinn isn't given much to do with his stock character. His main function is to throw violence into what is basically an entertaining piece of '80's fluff.
"Stakeout" is a well made film, short on laughs but big on smiles, with two great lead actors who carry this a long way.