Saturday, January 8, 2011

"Pink Cadillac" and the sleepy traveler

Title: Pink Cadillac
Released: 1989
Genre: Action/comedy, minus apes
Notable for: Clint wears disguises
Coolest thing Clint does: Destroys a white supremacist compound with a Mary Kay-styled pink convertible Caddy

After a delay caused by a week-long trip to Mexico, the land of sun and compromised credit-card security, The Clint Eastwood Project resumed on a shameful note.

Brad fell asleep watching "Pink Cadillac."

This disgrace can perhaps be attributed to travel fatigue inflamed by a brief but unfortunate incident at the border. U.S. Customs agents confiscated what we think was the skull of a sea turtle, an artifact Andrew found while snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea. The feds let us go but papers were filed with the Department of Homeland Security forever identifying Brad as a known skull trafficker.

Or perhaps Brad's shame has more to do with the overall quality of "Pink Cadillac," Clint's last movie of the 1980s.

Andrew pronounces the movie "pretty good" and considered it funny and entertaining. Brad finds it disjointed and uninspired, a movie that tries to do too many things -- comedy, action and romance -- in a half-assed way.

Clint plays a "skip tracer" who finds fugitives who jump bail. "For once in your life, be reasonable," a guy tells him early in the movie. "I tried that once," Clint answers. "I didn't like it."

When a hard guy like that tracks down a fugitive, he ought to stick a .44 in his ear and growl, "Let's go." But Clint doesn't. He tricks them into captivity with a bunch of silly disguises.

Clint's best comedy comes when he is disguised, and he seems to enjoy the chance to be goofy. His funniest exchange comes when he is disguised as a shit-for-brains redneck who infiltrates the paramilitary compound of white supremacists.

"If we get rid of all the blacks, all the Jews, what are we going to do for entertainers? Comedians, things like that?" Clint asks in a silly, mouth-breather voice. "We'll still have David Letterman," a white supremacist says. "Yeah," Clint marvels. "We'll still have David Letterman."

The funniest line goes to Bernadette Peters. When a flasher exposes himself to her, she says, "Looks like a penis, only smaller."

The action part of the story falls flattest.

Clint tracks down Peters for jumping bail on a crime committed by her husband, who is a doofus speed-head mixed up with the white supremacists. An unlikely but entirely predictable romance ensues.

The white supremacists are after Bernadette, too, because she unknowingly ran off in a car with $250,000 of their money in the trunk. They kidnap her baby to force her to bring back the money, and Clint helps get the baby back.

"Pink Cadillac" could not decide whether to make the bad guys really menacing or make them a bunch of goofy screwballs like the neo-Nazi biker gang in the "Every Which Way but Loose" movies. The film tries to split the difference and does neither.

The villains are stupid and incompetent and drug-addled, but supposedly homicidal. When the final confrontation arrives, a big action sequence fails because the bad guys are not bad enough to be taken seriously and not goofy enough to provide comedy.

As a completely minor side note, the movie has a cameo appearance by Jim Carrey, who plays the world's most disturbing Elvis imitator. Click here to see it.

Clint was almost 60 years old when "Pink Cadillac" was released. A man that age ought to be forgiven for trying to do too many things while he still can. The same impulse might cause a middle-aged man to become an international skull smuggler.

Next up: "White Hunter, Black Heart."

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