The rather complete failure of Jerry Belson’s script makes ‘The End’ of The End come none too soon. Star-director Burt Reynolds, as a medically-doomed sharpie, exercises and exorcises his fears while milking sympathy from everyone available. Production is a tasteless and overripe comedy that disintegrates very early into hysterical, undisciplined hamming.
For a few frames of the film, Reynolds’ bearded face suggests that there was some effort to project a different image; to transform his familiar and likable charisma into something different, befitting the last days of a carefree, selfish person who has been informed of fatal illness.
There’s little more to do than list the featured players: Dom DeLuise, absolutely dreadful; Sally Field, phoning in a kooky-pretty role; David Steinberg, an outtake that crept back into the print; Joanne Woodward, poorly utilized though adroitly cast.