Directed by: Burt Reynolds
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Charles Durning, George Segal, Candice Bergin, and Dar Robinson
Burt Reynolds plays Ernest “Stick” Stickley. We should just stop the plot description right there. But we’ll go on - Stick is an ex-con who gets out of jail and ends up working as a chauffeur for a mega-wealthy dude (Segal) and living at his mansion in the Miami area. While he’s trying to romance Kyle (Bergen) as well as forge a relationship with his daughter after his prison stay, nefarious drug dealers and gangsters are after Stick, led by the flamboyant Chucky (Durning) and his remorseless hit man Moke (Robinson). Will Stick Stickley stick to the law-abiding side of life?
This was the last movie Burt made before his Not Caring period (discussed in our Heat review). Because he still cared (after all, he directed the movie and co-wrote the theme song “I Don’t Think I’m Ready For You” sung by Anne Murray), his demeanor is actually pleasant to watch and seems to be enjoying himself reasonably enough, by Burt standards. He gets many personas in the movie - from the “Indiana Burt” of the beginning with his bomber jacket, fedora and beard to the “James Bond Burt” of later on, with “Casual Burt” in the middle, complete with pink Members Only jacket. (We’re not entirely convinced that it isn’t a woman’s jacket).
But the real star of the show is Charles Durning as Chucky. In a role like no other we’ve seen Durning interpret, he plays a Rip Taylor-like villain complete with loud shirts and bizarre makeup. Durning steals the movie, but George Segal gives him a run for his money with his big, boisterous role as Barry.
While Burt is as laconic as ever in front of the camera, he does a good, competent job behind it, clearly influenced by the popularity of Miami Vice. But the movie is a lengthy production with a very mainstream look. It needed more grit. It also should have been shorter and snappier. Elmore Leonard usually does good work but 52 Pick-Up (1986) remains his best.
Clearly the Nickelodeon character Stick Stickley was influenced by Burt Reynolds.
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett