Night Shift - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Night Shift Reviews

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½ January 24, 2014
Its a true feelgood comedy, well written, well acted and very likable, in other words ,far superior to cynical, race to out-gross , slew of humorous films we are subjected to now.
January 2, 2014
Sometimes a film critic has to go against the grain and denounce a movie that is mostly loved by other critics and audience members alike. For me (yes I'm that guy), that flick would be Night Shift. After an initial viewing, I found it very difficult to praise something that's supposed to be a comedy, but offers very few laughs. Harking back to the summer of 1982 when it was released, Night Shift must have shocked people by being about two dudes (polar opposites) who work in a morgue and on the side, become pimps harboring a prostitution ring. I say that because it was Ron Howard's directorial debut. You know the cute little kid on The Andy Griffith Show and the nice guy/good ol' boy from Happy Days. Ronny I gotta say we hardly knew ya! For this to be his first foray into film making, he probably turned a few heads. And let me just put this right out there; Ron Howard is for many reasons, a solid force behind the camera. His direction in "Shift" is substantially good. The fault in this exercise lies entirely in the script. It's trite, lacks heft, and offers a few comic gags that mostly fall flat. Just imagine viewing something with great actors trying their best, but having nothing of real value coming out of their mouths. That's the main reason why I can't recommend this supposed 80's quote machine. It hurts because along with the competent and controlled direction, you have a soundtrack that is pretty darn good too (does a great job of piling on a jazzy, retro feel). Furthermore, I've never said this about a film until now, but the best scenes happen outside and on the streets of NYC (minimal dialogue I might add). Here's the problem though, the majority of what is on screen is strictly interior shots. As a result, Night Shift becomes bland and pedestrian with a plot that projects some painful loose ends.

Being R rated (I'm thinking it has to do with the subject matter entirely) but having minimal bad language and almost no nudity, it seems like the director and his assistants thought they could get away with holding back. I for one believe that if a film has been saddled with an adult tag, it should stay loyal to that tag (it may not be Howard's fault. He made "Shift" before the MPAA got a hold of it).

Anyway, this film tells the story of Chuck Lumley (played by Henry Winkler a.k.a. "the Fonz"). He's a nice guy, a total pushover, and a former stockbroker now working as an attendant in a New York City morgue. His job seems to suit him just fine until he is forced to switch his hours permanently working the quote unquote "nightshift." While adjusting to his new work schedule, he is forced to partner up with a nervous oddball named Billy "Blaze" Blazejowski (played by Michael Keaton whose comedic talents are better utilized in his next film, Mr. Mom). Billy is an "idea man" who loves to record his thoughts and ambitions on a tape recorder (this plot point doesn't work, trust me). About halfway through the proceedings, Billy proposes to Chuck that they should use the morgue as sort of a location for soliciting prostitution. Winkler's character, reluctantly agrees to go through with it (I find it strange that he's ok with doing it even though he's not fully interested in making a buck on the side). The one benefit I suppose, is that Chuck meets and becomes romantically involved with one of the prostitutes whose name is Belinda (Shelly Long). With all this information firmly in place, the film continues with your everyday series of high jinks moments. It doesn't surprise you or impress you because the screenplay from Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel seems to be written without enough research or depth of the subject matter. As stated earlier, this is Nightshift's one downfall and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

There were indeed, a couple of things to ponder while taking in the events in its 1 hour 46 minute running time. For instance, why when Chuck gets busted by the cops and thrown in jail (for being a pimp of course), does Long's character not even bother to see him or help bail him out. It's established early on that she is in love with him and wants to be with him. Second, why when Billy and Chuck are out on bail and looking at some serious jail time, do they literally get off scott free. I mean, in reality, if you're a pimp and you run a whorehouse, you should probably go to jail for a very very long time. Finally, of perpetual annoyance and occurring with many films I've seen over the years, you have another flick in the long list of pictures that gives us a superficial ending wrapping everything up in a nice neat bow tie (yup, everyone is friends and everything is back to normal). What I can't seem to understand is how Winkler's character within almost less than a minute, forgives "Blaze" (Keaton) and becomes his best buddy. It just feels hypocritical being that he attacks Keaton, tells him he's gonna kill him, and let's him know constantly, that he ruined his life. Then as the flick concludes projecting a poignant shot of Keaton, Long, and Winkler walking through Times Square, you feel cheated or tricked into the realm of numbing acceptance. Again, I feel the actors are just doing what they're told and I can't fault them.

All in all, you have a vehicle where the script manipulates the cast so that they ultimately have to cater to its demands. They basically become puppets. Every performance and speaking voice is decent but you sense that even they (the cast) didn't know how the finished project would look like. Basically, if you dig a lightweight comedy that will make you chuckle once or twice, then Night Shift is for you. If you want to view a memorable, quotable, and untamable risk taker, then don't look here. In the past 30 years, Ron Howard has been successful even to this day. His films are beloved and cherished many times over (for a strange reason, this one is too). Part of me though, wishes he could take back this "night". In one of "shift's" pivotal scenes, Keaton's Billy "Blaze" says, "Is this a great country or what?" Great country yes, great film, not so much.
December 21, 2013
Once upon a time Michael Keaton was a fun, charismatic actor that was capable of carrying a film.

The end.
½ November 25, 2013
Adequate screwball comedy even today. Good basic script and pacing. Winkler is convincing as a non-Fonzarelli type, Long is likeable and lovely as ever, and Keaton is spot on in his portrayal of one of my past co-workers. Yes, obnoxious jerks like that really exist!!
Always a pleasure to see the under-utilized Clint Howard. Watch for Shannon Doherty, Kevin Costner, Ashley Cox, & KC Winkler too!
October 26, 2013
Michael Keaton's Debut, Henry Wrinkler's Best peformance outside of Fonzie and Ron Howard's Directing Talent creates a terrific film. Risky Business was a blatent ripoff of this and wasn't close to being nearly as good in any area whatsoever, but Night Shift made me laugh and think. Great Work
½ September 15, 2013
This is a classic example of a 80's classic
August 21, 2013
An OK comedy and has some memorable lines, but could have been better if it was less silly and over the top.
July 5, 2013
Just discovered this film today and it is already an instant favorite! Winkler and Keaton worked perfectly off of each other and Shelley Long is always a joy to watch, especially in this top-notch movie. Very reminiscent of Risky Business...just add some dead guys. ;)
½ July 4, 2013
Michael Keaton's best role
April 23, 2013
This is a seemingly forgotten movie that needs attention. This is pure fun right here people. Romantic comedies don't get much more funny and charming than this. Who needs Pretty Woman when you've got this?
February 7, 2013
a movie that was much more than I awesome 80s comedy Keaton & Winkler with great performances
January 31, 2013
This was one that I have seen bits of pieces of over the years but still wanted to see it in it's unedited glory. I finally watched it and it is one of Ron Howard's better efforts. Sometimes it feels like a TV sitcom, which isn't too bad considering Winkler is a TV icon. I like Henry Winkler and think he did a pretty decent job here but it is Michael Keaton who steals the show as the energetic schemer working with Winkler at the morgue. This reeks of the early 80's and that can be a mixed bag as it comes off as cheese but is still a pretty good product of the time.
½ January 25, 2013
Somehow missed this one in my formative years. A sly little black comedy about morgue attendants who become pimps, directed by Ron Howard when he still had a little anarchic spirit in him, and featuring two terrific performances from a young Michael Keaton and a post-Fonz Henry Winkler. Fun on several different levels.
½ December 29, 2012
How can you not love Michael Keaton? In terms of the main characters, the formula for Winkler and Keaton is all-too familiar, but an original and funny premise, hilarious dialogue and great performances make this a wonderful and endlessly entertaining comedy.
December 27, 2012
One of the most underrated comedies of all time, this one never fails to make me laugh hysterically and care about characters. Winkler plays the totally un-Fonz role of a loser who escapes the stress of Wall Street to work at the city morgue. His new partner: an insane "idea man" named Bill Blasejowski (screen debut for Michael Keaton, who was no doubt on a heavy amount of coke). Shelley Long plays the quintessential hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold, certainly much more believable than Julia Roberts' famous PRETTY WOMAN. Full of quotable lines and a surprising amount of heart, it's a crime that this film isn't more well known. And yes, I much prefer Rod Stewart's version of "That's What Friends Are For" which plays over the end credits.
½ December 9, 2012
Michael Keaton's movie debut and he works well with Winkler. If you like 80's comedies this is one to watch. Its not drop dead hilarious but its a fun watch.
December 7, 2012
Want to see it! Will have to take into account!
November 11, 2012
One of Ron Howard's BEST, both Winkler & Keaton's best. If you don't love this movie right away, give it a bit. It has a lot of heart, humor & really solid performances. 5 STARS. One of my all time favorites.
½ November 3, 2012
80s feeling indeed..but not at its best!
September 24, 2012
Fantastic performances all round but its Michael Keaton who steals the show.
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