Find That Film: Moving Violations

In episode six we’re suggesting a formulaic 80s cop vs underdogs farce even though it’s not a 10. Moving Violations is often overlooked because it was that movie with that other Murray brother. Nonsense. This movie stands on its own as a ridiculous, lightly plotted, humorous film.

Ned Isreal, writer of such gems as Police Academy and Bachelor Party, does a decent job of directing this rushed production into a watchable film. He gets good performances out of most of his cast (Sally Kellerman phones it in). Given his knack for situational comedy, it’s hard to believe the film isn’t stronger. I suspect there was interference from farther up the food chain.

Dana Cannon (John Murray) drops an apple in front of the wrong patrolman and ends up in traffic school. Once there, he meets NASA scientist Amy (Jennifer Tilly) who quickly seduces him. The rest of the lovable losers include too old to drive Mrs. Houk (Nedra Volz), hypochondriac Joan (Wendie Jo Sperber), mechanic Doc (Fred Willard), awkward Scott (Brian Becker) and numerous others. Teaching the class are recently demoted hard-nosed deputies Halik (James Keaach) and Morris (Lisa Hart Carroll). These two are not likely to go easy on the hapless drivers. A corrupt judge convinces Deputy Halik to fail the students and steal their cars. It’s only in the story to give us the madcap chase to close the movie. The chase is almost worth the subplot.

This movie overflows with crazy characters. The dork meets a punk rocker and things spiral. A gore freak wants someone, anyone–including himself–to die a gruesome death during every adventure. A car drives in reverse through most of a chase scene. There’s even love in a zero gravity chamber (one of Tarantino’s favorite scenes). You will laugh. Frequently. You may not understand why you’re laughing, but you’ll enjoy yourself.

Sometimes we need to watch a mindless comedy with no real depth or lesson. This movie delivers. Let go of your logic and find that film Moving Violations.

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