Thursday, October 22, 2009
Doctor Detroit; Comedy, USA, 1983; D: Michael Pressman, S: Dan Aykroyd, Fran Drescher, Donna Dixon, Kate Murtaugh, Howard Hesseman
Chicago. In order to get himself out of a 80,000 $ debt from mob boss 'Mom', pimp Smooth invents a non-existing new criminal, Dr. Detroit, who showed up on his territory. Smooth spots the nerdy College professor Clifford and invites him for a wild night with his 4 prostitutes, Monica, Karen, Jasmine and Thelma. But then Smooth runs away and leaves them. In order to help them, Clifford disguises himself as Dr. Detroit and meets 'Mom' at a junkyard, trying to act tough even though he barely manages to escape alive in the shootout. He has a sword fight her in a hotel, wins and runs her away from business.
A forgotten film, "Dr. Detroit" is a tiresome and spasmodic comedy that has plenty of zany, but little of funny. The story is all over the place, but basically empty and nothing more than a solid achievement mostly because the authors didn't display their comic talent. The only funny ingredient is the comedian Dan Aykroyd in the opening where, in tune to the great Devo theme song, he emerges over a hill in a hilarious nerdy way of jogging through the streets that can't be described. After some 30 minutes of zero successful jokes, he manages to save the screenplay once again in the second and last funny moment, the one where he disguises himself as a Southern lawyer, appears in the courtroom, causes a commotion and appeals to the mentality of the Southern judge to save his friend, an arrested prostitute, by presenting her as his sister. Sadly, that's pretty much it. Nothing more memorable to mention in the film anymore. Throughout the story, the characters constantly mention how the fictional Dr. Detroit is a menacing and unspeakably scary, and so the viewers are basically creating high expectations, assuming that Aykroyd is going to create an incredibly imaginative character when he eventually disguises himself into him. But when he finally does disguise himself into Dr. Detroit, some 50 minutes into the film, it turns out lame, almost as if a kid tried to imitate Dr. Strangelove. There are some neat motives of a introverted guy having to become extroverted, yet the pretty much the viewers spend most of the film just thinking about how Aykroyd and his future wife Donna Dixon appeared on big screen for the first time.