Monday, November 16, 2009

Spies Like Us

Spies Like Us; Comedy, USA, 1985; D: John Landis, S: Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Forrest, Donna Dixon, Bruce Davison

Austin Millbarge, an insignificant codebreaker, and Emmet Fitz-Hume, an insignificant spokesman working for the US Department of State, apply for a special agent test. Caught cheating, a couple of CIA officers decide to send them on a wild goose chase mission in Pakistan in order to use them as decoys, to keep the "heat off" from the real agents there. However, once they manage to get to a snowy mountain in the Soviet Union, they team up with the real spy, the beautiful Karen. Following orders, they launch a nuclear missile towards the US, because the generals want to start a war with the Soviet Union. Luckily, Austin is able to stop the missile.

Silly-goofy comedy "Spies Like Us" only has some loose relevance because it was referenced once in a "Family Guy" episode, but other than that it's that lame kind of film that offers just an occasional good joke at best and nothing more to the viewers. The first 10 minutes are actually rather fun, like in the scene where a courier enters a CIA office and announces loudly how he has brought "top secret documents", upon which one of the superiors cynically says: "Why don't you speak a little louder? They haven't heard you over there in Moscow", but once the two heroes Austin and Emmet are sent on an aimless mission in central Asia, the whole story becomes an aimless mess itself that quickly starts going on ones nerves. Blatant execution and cheap attempts at humor don't result in much, since zany and slapstick were never the best examples of comedy, and not even the director John Landis' sure hand can be really sensed, which is why he chose to cast numerous directors and celebrities, like Bob Hope, Joel Coen and Costa Gavras, in cameo roles to at least keep a little bit of attention in the uninteresting plot.


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