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Oh, what could have been. This movie was based on the very funny book "Stand On It" by "Stroker Ace", (the nom de plume of Bill Neely & Bob Ottum). but was an utter disaster.
The book is screamingly, outrageously side splitting hilarious, mixing real life off track incidents, (where the name were changed to protect the guilty), with a straightforward, (if also satirical), look at what it's like to be a race car driver. When I read the book in the 70s, well before the movie came out, I literally envisioned both Burt & Ned Beatty in their respective roles. That part of the casting was dead on perfect.
But the film is destroyed by a witless script by Hugh Wilson, (WKRP & the first Police Academy film), & Hal Needham, Smokey & The Bandit & the first sequel to it, the first two Cannonball Run flicks), & directed by Needham. So, we get the names of some of the main characters from the book, about a page & a half of the book's dialogue at the most, & the rest is Smokey & The Bandit Go Racing with Bubba Smith recreating his schtick from Police Academy.. Oh yes, we also get Burt's latest squeeze, (at the time), Loni Anderson, completely wasted in the film, & Jim Nabors is just kind of there. It's horrible, it's vapid, & it's not funny in the least.
Oh, did i mention the skin crawling, slimy, disturbing & unfunny attempted rape scene, where Burt gets Loni, (playing a virgin!) drunk on champagne, & almost takes advantage of her after she passes out, breaking the fourth wall, as he attempts to rationalize the act to us in the audience? Yep, that's in this terrible movie.
Before watching this piece of garbage, I'd recommend gouging your eyes out with a hot poker instead.
A handful of comedic moments keep this mediocre film as a semi-cult hit within the NASCAR community but that's about it.
Director Hal Needham and his star Burt Reynolds seem to be making their favorite kind of movie over again, indulging on a budget of fast cars, objectified blondes, and smug, sour comedy.
Just average NASCAR race movie that's more to comedy genre. Burt Reynolds is a top racer and his best friend cum top technician Jim Nabors always stick by him. His nemesis Parker Stevenson crash his car to the wall and cost him to bow out of the race. Burt lose the sponsorship. Ned Beatty is a fried chicken magnate and he sign Burt who needs a sponsor. But Ned made him do many advertising which is embarrassing and Burt has no choice. He like the newly hire assistant Loni Anderson. As love grows, Loni nego with Ned for better deal and didn't work. So she resign and Burt hire her as pit crew. Burt get his pit crew pal to pretend as another company who want to buy over Ned's business. Ned tell Burt on the final race that if he win he will continue to be his racer. But if he lose they will not be partners anymore. Burt wanted to lose the race until Parker make him angry with passion again. Seeing Burt not winning, Ned announce to the press he is terminating contract with Burt. But Burt race to top 2 and eventually win the race. Ned thought he still got a good deal by selling his business but after knowing the fake company buyout, Burt and Jim punch him in the face.
In the middle of the 'Cannonball Run' franchise (between 1 and 2), after 'Hooper', and towards the end of the 'Smokey and the Bandit' franchise (before the third), Needham and Reynolds teamed up again with this effort. Easily the weirdest movie title I've come across for some time, it sounds like a porn flick, funny thing is its actually the main characters name.
So the fact this is a Hal Needham movie, you can guess its gonna be about fast cars. Yep, fast cars, Burt Reynolds, some blonde eye candy and crashes, business as usual. This time Reynolds is actually a genuine race car driver on the NASCAR circuit...instead of the regular dashing cowboy. But this being a Reynolds character, this race car driver is of course arrogant, flashy and carefree of virtually everything around him, your basic narcissistic Reynolds character.
Sounds good huh, well let me ice your balls down a tad. So Ace loses his sponsor by generally being an asshole, so he has to find another. Along comes Torkel (Ned Beatty) who runs a fast food chicken franchise offering Ace a deal, did I forget to mention Torkel's director of marketing and public relations is the blonde bombshell Loni Anderson? Well that pretty much explains why Ace accepts the deal without reading shit. He then spends the entire movie (along with his mechanic Jim Nabors) trying to get out of this bad deal which sees him opening fast food joints and dressing up in a chicken suit.
Yes that is in fact the whole plot in a nutshell, and yes you're right, it is extremely thin on the ground. This really does come across as a lame attempt to squeeze another fast car flick out of Reynolds by either Needham or Warner Bros. I mean seriously, the aim of the movie is for Ace and co the try and get fired by Torkel, so they don't have to do the stupid things they agreed to do by the contract. At times this does include some racing which is filmed at the famous locations of...Charlotte Motor Speedway, Talladega Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Now this might sound impressive but it isn't really as much of what we see is stock footage (clearly), and the sequences filmed for the movie are obviously done so in front of sets and small crowds.
The racing segments are too damn obvious, clearly racing at a slow speed and clearly not in any real danger of anything despite what the plot wants you to think. Sure Reynolds does appear to be behind the wheel of a real moving car as we've seen in his other car flicks, but there is zero tension or thrills here, nothing to engage you at all. To top that you don't really see much racing either, a few minutes of car footage, some refueling, some wheel spins, some cars grouping bumper to bumper (at slow speeds), that's it. Its then a quick cut to the finish where Reynolds generally wins if he hasn't been beaten by his incredibly cliched young, good looking, blonde, male rival. Every racing flick protagonist has to have an arch rival antagonist who's usually blonde and younger, or the same age.
When Ace isn't racing he's doing these promotions for Torkel's chicken franchise. Obviously these things aren't suppose to be genuinely funny or of high quality, they are suppose to be hokey and embarrassing for Ace, but its embarrassing to watch! There is literately nothing remotely interesting to see in these scenes, its not funny, its not clever, Loni Anderson in skimpy attire doesn't make it any better (well...) and Jim Nabors ISN'T funny dagnabbit!! At the same time Beatty as Torkel is a quite disgustingly stereotypical southern hick type who really made me not want to visit the American south. His chauffeur is played by Bubba Smith...but I don't know why because he does nothing accept lift a car up when a jack breaks. That's the sole reason why they cast the guy, for that one visual strength gag, good grief!
Yeah so spoiler alert (who cares!), in the end they manage to trick their way out of Torkel's dastardly contract, with the help of Feeny (Anderson) who of course falls for Ace during the run time. Did anyone really NOT see Loni Anderson's character failing to fall for Reynolds slimy charms? You know what's gonna happen in this movie from watching the first five minutes, and no I can't overlook that. Thing is, what Ace and co do to break the contract, isn't that deception and kinda illegal? pretty sure you can't pretend to be a big company and pretend to offer to buy someone out.
Yeah so if you like Needham's rollicking stunt flicks then look elsewhere, there is none of that here. This is a weak entry and offers no excitement at all from either the racing or the characters. The only plus points I can think of, that some folks might like here, is the historic car porn on display and the casting of various famous NASCAR drivers (none of whom I have any clue about).
I've had just about enough of Reynolds in a race car.
This movie was made when Bert Reynolds popularity was starting to slide. It's a movie about Stock Car Racing. It's an excuse to use stock footage of real Stock Car Races. Stock Car Racing wasn't as popular as it is now but did have a loyal fan base. It's a comedy with Burt Reynolds and Jim Nabors acting silly. Jim Nabors plays a character similar to Gomer Pyle, just a little smarter and is more of the straight man. He's the head mechanic on Stroker Ace's race car team. Burt plays Stroker Ace, a womanizing, self centered race car driver. Burt married Loni Anderson after the movie was made. She plays his love interest in the movie. She was young and super hot at the time and still doing "WKRP in Cincinnati". The whole story is about Stroker Ace trying to get out of a sponsor's contract because he has to do things that are beneath him. The sponsor is the owner of a chain of fast food chicken restaurants. Ned Beatty plays the sponsor. I got it in a three disk package with Hooper and Sharky's Machine. I was trying to buy just Sharky's Machine but they shipped me the Triple Feature. I think all these movies are coming out on Blue Ray soon and the original DVD's are getting hard to find but the Triple Feature package is still available.
Burt Reynolds came to a point in his career where he appeared to just be going thru the motions. He'd show up, party with his friends on film, and take home a big paycheck. It didn't seem to matter to him that the product he was representing was pure crap. If the thought of Burt hamming it up with Jim Nabors and dressing like a chicken sounds funny then this is your movie. Otherwise pick almost any other film comedy and it won't be any worse.Â
Better than I expected, just basically another kind of Cannonball Run but set on a NASCAR track instead.
Worse than Days of Thunder , but better than Kenny Rogers in Six Pack. (Watching early Nicole Kidman versus fading Loni Anderson gives Thunder the edge)