Apurely escapist entertainment,
John Badham’s “Another Stakeout,” a sequel to his 1987 hit “Stakeout,” is sillier and less plausible than the first movie, but it’s also funnier. Adding a woman to the Richard Dreyfuss-Emilio Estevez detective team, and stressing the comedy elements instead of the suspense, pic is broad enough to have across-the-board
appeal. B.O. prospects for lighthearted summer pic are good in quick, wide playoff.
Scripter Jim Kouf’s new comedy-adventure picks up Chris Lecce (Dreyfuss) and Bill Reimers (Estevez), the two Seattle police detectives, six years later. Estevez is now married and father of two, but still wears his mustache, the subject for some Freudian humor.
Dreyfuss, who is clean-shaven, lives with Maria (Madeleine Stowe, uncredited) , the woman he was assigned to observe and fell in love with the first time out. But Dreyfuss suffers from a commitment problem and, in what is possibly the film’s broadest scene, Stowe walks out on him.
The eternally feuding cops are appointed to locate Lu Delano (Cathy Moriarty) , a missing key witness in the trial of a Las Vegas mobster. This time around, their team also includes Gina Garrett (Rosie O’Donnell), an assertive, tough-talking assistant D.A., who insists on bringing along her dog.
Once the “Three Stooges” situate themselves in an elegant house in an upscale neighborhood, the real movie — and frolic — begins.
Pretending to their neighbors to be one big happy family, most of the humor revolves around comic exchanges between Dreyfuss as Dad, O’Donnell as Mom and Estevez as their grown son.
There’s one hilarious scene, a dinner party hosted by Dreyfuss and O’Donnell for their neighbors (Dennis Farina and Marcia Strassman), a show-stopper that’s worth the price of admission. The fluency of wisecracks and sight gags in this seg, which would do Blake Edwards proud, overshadows everything that follows.
Dreyfuss and O’Donnell, two skillful comedians, try to outsmart each other as characters — and performers. Exploiting their physiques to an advantage, their spirited rivalry results in rowdy jokes and raucous fun. Playing a quieter — and more limited — role than his peers, Estevez still holds his own and gives an engaging perf.
Used only as a loose frame, suspense takes a back seat to comedy here. In fact, when the story periodically cuts to the killer and the suspense plot, the movie loses its momentum.
A proficient craftsman, Badham’s work is as usual polished if impersonal. He gives the film a shining gloss, greatly assisted by Roy H. Wagner’s sharp lensing and Frank Morris’ energetic editing. As in every Badham movie, there is an abundance of chase sequences, mechanically inserted — just for the sake of thrills.
The most amazing thing about “Another Stakeout” is that even though some of its skits are dopey and cloying and its plot recycled and derivative, the movie is still very amusing.