The late 70's and early 80's were good to Burt Reynolds. Hemade the most of the "urban cowboy" craze that swept the country in those years, and became a Hollywood legend by milking the "good ol' boy" feel more than anyone else. Surrounded by a cast of actors so famous that it almost defies description, this vehicle (no pun intended) provided him with one of his biggest hits. The casting of this movie must've been simplicity itself. Find any actor who would be interested in co-starring with Burt Reynolds for his newest action/comedy. Since he was pretty much the biggest star in the world at that time, it must've been easy to talk actors into it. Then they just turned the actors lose to improvise their characters. It's that spirit that makes this movie, and it's sequel so much fun. There's nothing phony in the script, because I doubt there was a real script to work from. You're just watching these actors have a good time, cracking each other up, and driving fast cars. Various actors from different decades in entertainment share the screen, and just about everyone gets their moment to shine.
Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise were good friends in real life, and their scenes together are always fun. The same can be said for Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Roger Moore seems to be having a great time spoofing his own James Bond persona. You've got your requisite eye candy in the forms of Farrah Fawcett and Adrienne Barbeau, who were both two of the biggest sex symbols at the time. Jackie Chan makes the most of his martial arts skills.
A movie doesn't necessarily have to be "good" to enjoy it. You can intellectually know what you are watching is poorly made, but when the fun is so obvious, it's contageous. This is prime example of that.