Review: ‘O.C. and Stiggs’

Loosely based on a story in National Lampoon, pic is an anarchistic jab at the insurance business and any other American institution that happens to be handy. In his best work such as Nashville and MASH, Robert Altman was able to weave together an array of sights and sounds into a distinctive social commentary. In O.C. and Stiggs the structure comes apart and what's left is mostly random silliness.

Loosely based on a story in National Lampoon, pic is an anarchistic jab at the insurance business and any other American institution that happens to be handy. In his best work such as Nashville and MASH, Robert Altman was able to weave together an array of sights and sounds into a distinctive social commentary. In O.C. and Stiggs the structure comes apart and what’s left is mostly random silliness.

Plot [by Tod Carroll and Ted Mann] has something to do with O.C. (Daniel H. Jenkins) and Stiggs’ (Neill Barry) efforts to extract a pound of flesh from Arizona insurance magnate Randall Schwab (Paul Dooley) in revenge for cancelling the old age insurance of O.C.’s grandfather (Ray Walston).

Along for the ride through the desert heartland is Schwab’s drunken wife (Jane Curtin), Stiggs’ lecherous father (Donald May) and bird-brained mother (Carla Borelli), a shell-shocked Vietnam vet (Dennis Hopper) and a horny high school nurse (Tina Louise), to name just a few.

In spite of the shortcomings and tedium of the production, there are moments when it becomes evident there is a vision and talent behind all the nonsense. Performances are uniformly good, with Dennis Hopper once again excelling as a madman.

[Pic was finished in 1984 but not released until 1987.]

O.C. and Stiggs

Production

M-G-M/UA. Director Robert Altman; Producer Robert Altman, Peter Newman; Screenplay Donald Cantrell, Ted Mann; Camera Pierre Mignot; Editor Elizabeth Kling; Music King Sunny Ade & His African Beats; Art Director Scott Bushnell

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 109 MIN.

With

Daniel H. Jenkins Neill Barry Paul Dooley Jane Curtin Ray Walston Dennis Hopper
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