Deal of the Century (1983) Poster

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More on target than you'd expect
chrisdfilm21 May 2004
It seems like everyone's opinion on this movie is evenly divided. People either love it or hate it. Personally, I am not a Chevy Chase fan by any stretch of the imagination. But I like many of William Friedkin's films so I wanted to give this a chance and went in without too many preconceptions.

It obviously can't stand up to a comparison to DR. STRANGELOVE as a few here have done. However, it still remains a fairly on-target, unflattering satire of the weapons industry and by extrapolation, other mass production industries that love to sell the government and public crap product cosmetically hyped as the next great answer to all their fears and desires, product that ends up being useless or obsolete within a year (if it even works properly in the first place). There are some pretty funny scenes sprinkled throughout and I was pleasantly surprised through the whole film how much dark, subversively funny jabs Friedkin gets away with. Especially in a big studio movie.

There's one scene in particular that makes the film well worth seeing --Gregory Hines (I believe it was him) gets into a verbal altercation with another extremely hotheaded driver (a maniacal Tony Plana) (over a fender bender? it's been a while since I've seen it) -- the verbal sparring quickly escalates into a life-threatening situation and the emotional dynamics the two actors bring to the scene is scarily believable while remaining extremely funny. This scene alone provides a microcosmic metaphor for the provocations of nations going to war and perfectly illustrates the pointless absurdity of aggressive behaviour in general. Also of note, it's great to see the underrated Vince Edwards in a large supporting role as the ruthless air weapons manufacturer.

DEAL OF THE CENTURY is never less than amusing and has some extremely funny sequences -- much better than many of these IMDb reviews would lead you to believe.
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brave satire
macduff5027 November 2004
I loved this movie when it came out, and I still think it's one of Friedkin's most under- rated efforts. Where it lost a lot of the audience was in its requirement that they actually think about what was being presented to them. The jokes are not the usual Chevvy Chase, fall on his ass kind of thing, but for the most part have an actual point behind them. Where the film failed, I think, is culturally; audiences at the multiplex tend not to like to have to think about the entertainments they consume, so the movie got lukewarm reviews, and poor audiences. Look at the scene for example, where Gregory Hines' character is accosted by a mugger, and the way in which the scene escalates, for a perfect mini-allegory of the cold war, and the simplicity of its essential "strategies."

In truth, the movie falls between two stools, in terms of the audience it was aiming at. It's too much a Hollywood production to play on the art-house circuit; but its ethos is too "political" to play well in the major exhibition houses, ie, suburban multiplexes. It might be the case too, that because its satirical target is the military, some thought it as somehow "anti-American" and stayed away for that reason. But it's a fine film, well-structured and well scripted (in my opinion), having as its core the moral redemption of an immoral man. It also features – a rarity for American commercial movies – a black man in a major, well-thought out role who's not just a comedy sidekick for the hero. Give this one a chance, and it will reward multiple viewings.
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10/10
completely misunderstood *spoiler*
fliphop5 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
there just aren't any movies about the arms trade. let alone satires.

its not supposed to be funny. its supposed to be ironic and make a social statement. but if you cannot see the humor in a bunch of dancing girls throwing hulas around generals at a party/trade-show called "arms for peace '84", then maybe you don't have a sense of humor.

the only way i can figure that someone doesn't see humor in this is that they have never actually been to an air show, visited a defense plant, or studied anything about the weapons / airplane industry, or perhaps they have completely forgotten the Cold War and what it was like.

the idea of selling a bunch of useless weapons off to a third world dictator, while a rich Arabian sells weapons to his enemy, is sick and funny but most of all it's true.

anyone who likes family guy or futurama will have a good chance of appreciating this movie.
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10/10
Office Space for the defense industry!
crashchat6 December 2005
This is a must see for any Chevy Chase fan or anyone who has ever worked at a large defense subcontractor! Office Space for the defense industry. I've worked at big companies (both defense and commercial) and this movie portrays them quite accurately. Even though the inherent humor in the plot line is based on the defense industry, it is very accessible to those who know little about it. Chevy is at his finest as the movie plays his character's extreme comical greed (i.e. will sell any weapon to anyone for any reason) against Gregory Hines' burgeoning conscience about their chosen profession. I was initially shocked by the low average rating of this movie. After reading some of the other reviews about this movie I begin to understand. Because Chevy plays an humorously amoral individual rather than his usually lovably goofy, one I think many viewers were shocked. I didn't think that the humor in this film was subtle; but apparently for many, it was. This movie also makes a very strong moral point about the military industrial complex that should be taught (whether with this movie or not) to all people before they are allowed to vote.
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Who was the technical advisor
VernC20 August 2000
If you work in certain areas in the defense business, you will be sure that some one who worked in the business did the script. Some of the most outrageous incidents in the film are the most true to life. It may be that you have to have some professional insight to appreciate it fully. It's like a Dilbert cartoon.
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10/10
this movie is brilliant
prayformojo-115 September 2005
It is a satirical look at the industry of arms sales. Chevy Chase is an independent broker who sells rifles, grenades, rocket launchers, etc. to any 3rd rate dictatorial government (or its opposing insurgency) like he's selling vacuum cleaners. Somebody is going to get rich arming South American counties at war with each other so why not him? Gregory Hines is his business partner who is becoming a born again Christain and therefore developing a moral crisis over the implications of their work, which is brilliantly exemplified in a scene where he is sent to Long Beach to check out a good deal on flamethrowers and listens to the client describe them as "house warmers" because in North Africa the paramilitary uses them to burn village huts in order to find out who resides in them- a preferable alternative to knocking on doors. This movie is for people who want to learn about the ugly convergence of business and war peppered with a handful of great jokes about the subject. "Haven't you heard of the separation of church and business? This country was founded on it!"

The movie Lord of War with Nicolas Cage is about to be released, and from the trailer it looks like the writer saw Deal of the Century and decided to update it for 2005.
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8/10
A forgotten classic comedy
etebelak10 April 2001
The overall plot of this movie is weak however there are A LOT of memorable scenes. These scenes make me watch this movie a couple times a year. This movie has a similar tone to Caddyshack, Head Office, Fletch, etc. I think it's one of Chevy's better performances. His narration in the movie helps add to the overall comical tone.

If you are at all a Chevy Chase fan and enjoy his older work (Caddyshack, Fletch, etc.) this is definitely worth renting.
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8/10
Some really neat shtick
Cequinne7 March 1999
While this wasn't one of the best movies I've seen, it had some really nice comedic bits in it. I particularly liked Wallace Shawn doing the anxious salesman, and Gregory Hines as the born-again who gets the ultimate revenge.

Worth seeing just for these two bits, plus a few other great moments.
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7/10
A dark, 1980s comedy
chrisp-2919 May 2006
Deal of the Century is for those with an appreciation of the absurd. A dry, dark comedy, and an ironic portrayal of 1980s American (Reaganite) values. The film is a humorous, critical portrait of the hypocrisy behind Ronald Reagan's deadly cold war shenanigans. Its a political comedy -- very well directed by William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist). It is also well performed and photographed. Chevy Chase is perfectly cast as a cynical arms dealer. And the late, great, Gregory Hines, as his partner, disenchanted with the arms business and suddenly filled with pathos, desperately and hilariously turns from heavy-weapons to Jesus. It is not a perfectly plotted or written film, but it strives to intelligently portray its era.
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9/10
Deal of the Century!
Movie Nuttball22 September 2004
Deal of the Century is a serious action comedy that stars Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, Gregory Hines, Vince Edwards, Richard Libertini, Bradford English, and Charles Levin! There are many surprising moments in this picture. The action scenes are done very well. Chase and Weaver had good charisma together and they both looked really different. Hines was good as well. The special effects were really neat. William Friedkin's directing is great. I really can't see what is wrong with the movie. Give this movie a chance because its a very different film and the cast are in serious roles. So anyone who likes Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, and Gregory Hines give it a chance and check it out!
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7/10
You got me sold!
lost-in-limbo23 March 2007
Eddie Muntz is a pervasive black market arms dealer who after a missed sale, meets a fellow salesman Harold in the same field for the US Luckup Corporation while in South America. After he commits suicide with the stress of waiting by the phone for the government dictator to ring him back to complete the deal. Eddie answers and takes over the deal which involves a new high-tech, non-pilot plane known as the Peacemaker. Soon enough everybody wants to get on this multi-million dollar deal. Eddie's work pal Ray has found god, and he's doing his best trying to keep him on the job and Harold's icy widow Catherine wants her share of the prize.

William Friedkin's "Deal Of the Century" is somewhere in between a black comedy and frank pot-shot on the international arms trade. It never distinguishes itself either way, but I think that's the point. Especially how nervously bizarre this turns out to be. I certainly enjoyed this misunderstood satirical item on an interestingly flavorers topic and the sardonically dark humour was neat treat to the senses. Those looking for a laugh-out-loud affair will only get humour that's rather broadly downbeat in tone, despite how over-blown they turn out to be. While, it didn't constantly make me laugh, it got some grimaces out of me. It can feel like a Chevy Chase vehicle most of the time, as the rest of the cast do pale in comparison. That's not their fault, because their characters don't have the material to lift them out of Chase's shadow. Chase is one of my favourite iconic 80's comedians and he immediately fits the role with his causally dry and quick-witted personality. Sigourney Weaver is there to look good in her steely firebrand performance and Gregory Hines doesn't look too interested throughout. There's a short comic performance by Wallace Shawn too.

The freshly ammo-packed story by Paul Bickerman is complicatedly knotty and obvious with its attacks. Creeping in were oddball situations and a surrealistic air on the worrying subject at hand. The snappy script works up a creative novelty, smearing it with sneering gags, spicy irony and that of Chase's slyly gruff voice-over narration to string scenes together. Super weapons to ensure peace, nicely put. As for William Friedkin's direction, well at first I didn't even know that this was on his resume. His style is extremely random and kinetic in just what's going to happen, but this unfocused mark goes on to morph its way into the premise. The interestingly high octane climax springs to mind. The production does look cheap, but the sweeping musical score creates the right vibe and there's strikingly framed camera-work. Explosions make there way in and the effects for the plane look rather hokey when its up in the air, but decent enough when on the ground.

While, I don't see too much love for this offering. It isn't significantly great and it can be clumsy, but I don't see it as a piece of absurd garbage that it's made out to be. Simply a delightful, if farcical romp that kept me highly entertained.
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10/10
DOLL
jrwilliams5129 August 2000
CHEVY CHASE, SIGOURNEY WEAVER,& GREGORY HINES stir up a real deal when they go after the arms race!Its all about money, and where the truth lies in a all out arms deal that does more damage to us than the enemy! The absolute beautiful Cathrine Devoto played by SIGOURNEY WEAVER is a total dream girl gun carrying, submissive female!This fun filled packed,and very sexy movie out sells them all,and is more deserving than a ten!
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1/10
As funny as cancer
MartinHafer9 June 2005
What were they thinking?! Is this movie a comedy or is it a drama? It looks like it's a comedy--especially in regard to how they marketed the film. The only problem is, it just isn't funny. If it's a drama, there was no tension and the underlying message appears muddled. So, regardless of the intent, it fails on both levels. As a result, it is uninteresting and dull beyond belief. No, now that I think about it, it's VERY easy to believe that this movie is unappealing. So many ex-SNL people (especially the original cast) did MANY totally unfunny movies. Neighbors, Nothing But Trouble, 1941, Dr. Detroit and Funny Farm stand out as prime examples of this curse.

Part of my disliking this movie so much may be because I just haven't enjoyed any of the Chevy Chase movies I've seen, whereas many of my extended family members think he is brilliant. However, even they hated this movie and found it annoying, so that says something.
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Not the greatest comedy of the century, but still good.
wombat_19 September 2001
The previous very negative commentaries: I wonder what they expected? If they expected a "typical" Chevy Chase movie, where he is the star of the show, and don't you forget it, then ... this is not the movie.

This is more along the lines of "Flying High", when there is no one "star" of the file who hogs the limelight. In this movie, the gags and clever lines are more evenly distributed. In my mind, this makes for a funnier movie.
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6/10
Ugh
jzappa11 August 2011
I perfectly understand the impulse to satirize Cold War nuclear dealings. How do you work for peace by building missiles, Ronald? And released at the mad height of Reaganomical autocracy, this muddy blotch on the scintillating filmography of a great modern director aspires to be a sharp, shrewd, and audacious satire of the global arms race, but it rarely seizes me, or seemingly any audience, on any considerable comic or intellectual level. The movie starts promisingly enough with a commercial mocking the arms industry, a promo for the Luckup Industries "Peacemaker," a fighter drone guaranteed to "preserve our way of life," with shots of families and children in the background. There's a stroke of Dr. Strangelove as the company executives thrash out promotional schemes for the plane, but the fanatical boss wants a more hard-hitting ad crusade, something like, "Why do I fly it? On account of it kills."

While the film plainly expects this brand of send-up to be shrewd and slashing, the film never takes any of it very far at all. Most frequently, the calculated gags seem too solemn. Not even Chevy Chase's peddling of military wares is ever very funny, though a booby-trapped urinal is clearly intended to be. Yes, Chevy Chase. And Wallace Shawn and Richard Libertini, all hilarious people. Libertini plays an immensely wealthy arms merchant who explains how recent changes to federal law not only legalize bribes to foreign dictators, but make those bribes tax deductible.

But no one concerned appears to have had any clue where the film's tone should've been pitched. The black comedy approach is merely dealt with from time to time. The scathing digs at the arms industry are haphazard. The humor varies from the relatively keen to the dumb to the utterly absent. What is Weaver's character designed to be anyway? The widow of the Luckup sales rep whose deal is successfully taken over by Chase, one moment she is a matchless fraud, the next she's a brokenhearted widow, and thereafter that she's pursuing Chase and surrendering herself to the General.

And Gregory Hines, an ex-fighter pilot now undergoing a religious crisis of conscience. After years of capitalizing off the wholesaling of death, he out of the blue finds religious conviction. Is this meant as a parody of born-again fanatics? Or is it just a narrative expedient to get us to the movie's utterly boring climactic warfare? Whatever the case may be, both actors are significantly wasted in their distracted roles. I would've been delighted to see this one and leave calling it unluckily misread or gravely undervalued, but the thing's an utter muddle most of the time.
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Tries To Be Another "Dr. Strangelove" But Doesn't Make It
sdlitvin10 August 2003
"Deal Of The Century" was director William Friedkin's attempt to create a "black comedy" satirizing the armaments industry, in much the same way as Stanley Kubrick satirized the nuclear balance of power in "Dr. Strangelove." Unfortunately, it falls short of that ambitious goal.

The movie concerns an arms dealer, Eddie Muntz (Chevy Chase), who gets an opportunity to take over the sale of an ultra-advanced pilotless combat aircraft to a dumb South American dictator when the original salesperson dies unexpectedly.

Friedkin clearly thought he was making a great movie here, in the way he diligently employed many of the same elements as "Strangelove": verisimilitude in the names of arms companies and weapon systems, blatant phallic symbolism, sex-obsessed characters, sight gags, and a basically bizarre, unreal plot.

Unfortunately, all Friedkin ends up doing is showing that he is no Kubrick (at least not after "The French Connection" anyway), Chevy Chase is no Peter Sellers, and in general those associated with this movie just aren't in the same league as those who made "Strangelove." Many of the lines and sight gags just aren't that funny, and the satirical point about the armaments industry gets lost in a meandering plot with an irrelevant subplot about Muntz' romance with the dead salesman's widow (Sigourney Weaver). An actual romance tended to dilute the satirical effectiveness of the sexual obsessions of the major characters.
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1/10
Acclaimed director William Friedkin follows up the controversial Cruising with a Turkey
stevenfreekin4 March 2014
You got the director of Sorcerer, you got Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, and Gregory Hines, and a contemporary Dr. Strangelove story, man, it's gonna be something great!

Well, unfortunately it is something great. A great pile of crap. I don't know what happened, but the movie bombed because it was savaged by critics and ignored by audiences, and for good reason. The film fails to ignite the outrageous Dr. Strangelove storyline. I think Friedkin was out of his comfort zone and into unknown territory. Honestly, Friedkin is not the kind of director you call for comedies. It's not his forte.

Although the film is total crap as a whole, I will say there are elements of genius in there, not much, but it's there. One interesting note is that Friedkin completely throws away his unique induced documentary style and goes classical and traditional for the second time in his career. The first time was on The Brink's Job in 1978. Some of the action sequences are pretty raw and realistic. The jokes are amateurish and sophomoric. Friedkin should have never made this film. If anyone is contemplating if they should view this film, well my answer to you is absolutely no. I really mean it. Not even Friedkin would watch it. I think he would burn this film if he owned the negative. Watch Lord of War (2005), it has a similar story and concept, but only slightly better or just watch great films about this same concept like Wag the Dog (1997) or Dr. Strangelove (1964) and Charlie Wilson's War (2007).
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8/10
Pretty good, although not altogether successful dark comedy.
hu6759 September 2010
Eddie Mintz (Chevy Chase) is a fast-talking arms dealer, who seals weapons to third world countries. When he meets an man (Wallace Shawn) is about to commit suicide. He tells Eddie, he can't finish his deal. He's a sales rep for the American defense contractor Lock-Up. This mysterious man has an contract that is worth $300 Million. When he commit suicide, Eddie takes his contract and he actually succeed making an deal. But the mysterious man widow (Sigourney Weaver) wants part of the money. Eddie and his soon to be born again Christian partner Ray (The late Gregory Hines) tries to make it an deal done with anyone, who is interested in the contract. Which Lock-Up are trying to sell an product titled "The Peacemaker UAV" that actually has problems of its own. When the deal is nearly done, Ray has second thoughts about the deal and nothing goes as planned.

Directed by Oscar-Winner:William Friedkin (Bug, The Exorcist, To Live and Die in L.A.) made an watchable if sometimes amusing dark comedy. Chase gives 110 percent to his performance, he is entertaining to watch in the movie. The late Hines is actually pretty good in the movie as well. Perphas not the devilish satire that some people were expecting and also not as zestfulness as you liked it to be. But sometimes, the movie comes pretty close to be spot on.

DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an good Dolby Stereo 2.0 Surround Sound. DVD only special features is the original theatrical trailer. "Deal of the Century" does have some good sequences, some laughs and some fine satire as well but the movie doesn't quite breakthrough. Perphas more of a curio today, it is one of the rarely seen movies from director Friedkin. It is certainly worth an look if you are an fan of Friedkin or actor:Chase. Written by Paul Brickman (Men Don't Leave, Risky Business, True Crime), who also one of the executive producers of the movie. (*** ½/*****).
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1/10
Faulty Weapons
Angry_Arguer5 January 2004
OK, here's an all-too-familiar story. Following the end of the US-back Shah in Iran, Iraq and Iran subsequently became embroiled in a pointless war. The US, mindful of Iraqi business, supported them for the first few years, but then sold weapons to Iran to counter Iraq's growing success. Profits from these sales went to the Contras in Nicaragua, thus the Iran-Contra scandal begins. After the Iran-Iraq war ends, the US pays Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to combat the Iraqi threat. Here we are today...draw your own conclusions.

What a story! Think of the possibilities if some competent screenwriter could make a film adaptation. Alas, this movie isn't anywhere near as engaging. It's Mel Brooks material like 'High Anxiety', any cheap shot that can be taken is taken. What Kubrick had in 'Strangelove', above all else, was research. This is as well-researched into its topic as the 'Left Behind' material or a made-for-tv movie.

I don't like Chevy Chase, his method of humor is both unsophisticated and dated even for the 80s. All his expression is in his eyebrows while his voice remains the same.

Friedkin hasn't had the best track record. He doesn't keep up with the times, thus he loses his edge.

Final Analysis = = Cinematic Dud
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2/10
Snooze of the Century
Squonk1 March 1999
Sit in a hard chair if you intend on staying awake through all of Deal of the Century. This movie is just plain boring. It deals with Chase, Weaver, and Hines trying to sell a bunch of pilotless planes to a dictator who looks like Saddam Hussein's chipper twin. There are a few funny lines. Overall you'll just wonder what on earth is going on but won't care enough to rewind and try to find out. Wallace Shawn is the only bright spot in this mess, but he's eliminated quickly.
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Not that good of a deal!
yenlo15 September 1999
The first few minutes of this flick are hilarious with the great character actor Wallace Shawn as a nervous wreck of a salesman. After his exit from the picture this poor film goes no where real fast. Gregory Hines has a couple of funny scenes but that's about it.
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2/10
Mis-"Deal"....
Mister-68 October 1999
Remember Paul Brickman?

The director and writer of "Risky Business"? The director of "Men Don't Leave"? Remember?

Well, here's one to forget.

In spite of Friedkin as director, in spite of great special FX and in spite (or maybe because of) Chevy Chase as the star, "Deal of the Century" is more of a swindle.

1983 wasn't a very good year for movies, and here's more proof if you needed it.

If this really was the "Deal of the Century", let's all try to hold out until the year 2983, shall we?

Two stars. One for the effects and another for Sigourney Weaver. She did better in "Ghostbusters".
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Deal of the Century
Coxer9920 July 1999
Messy satire on selling arms to third world nations that relies too heavily on Chase to carry us through. Chase does what he can, but even he cannot save Paul Brickman's unimaginative script.
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1/10
Cheap anti-Reagan propaganda
Maziun27 August 2013
This movie is nothing , but a Hollywood propaganda made against president Ronald Reagan. It's not strange , since Reagan was right-wing and Hollywood almost always has been left-wing. Anyway , you shouldn't be able to enjoy this piece of s*** unless you're some left-wing fanatic . I guess Hollywood likes propaganda ("Avatar").

Ronald Reagan was one of the best , if not the best president of United States . Along with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II he destroyed communism. How ? Thanks to economy . He bankrupted the USRR thanks to the arms race. He knew that the United States will win the race . He didn't buy or invest money in army because he was some dictator or blind fanatic (as the movie tries to suggest) , but because he was a visionary who knew that victory will come with time.

Putting aside political beliefs , this movie is just terribly bad. It tries to be a black comedy , but there isn't a single good joke here . There is nice shot of Sigourney Weaver's long sexy legs . And the actor who plays the guy waiting impatiently for phone is good. It's sad to see Chevy Chase and Sigourney Weaver in this mess . Thankfully , the movie didn't destroyed their careers (It's REALLY so bad , believe me) . Weaver soon made "Ghostbusters " and "Aliens" , while Chase triumphed with "Fletch".

If you're looking for good anti-war comedy better watch "Dr. Strangelove" . If you're looking for good 80's anti-war comedy you should watch "Spies like us" with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd . I give this 1/10.
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An awful comedy - and with a "message".
fedor88 January 2007
This left-wing comedy is so very boring that it doesn't even have the strength to properly annoy me. Its support for Communist rebels and its disdain for Reagan and everything that he stood for is just so idiotic and trite. Weaver is her usual uncharismatic self, and Chase has never been this unfunny. But there's hardly anybody who'd have been funny with this script. It amazes me that someone actually went through the last draft of the script and actually thought "yeah, this one will be good; let's spend some millions and make a helluva picture!". If you are interested in reading my phony biographies of Weaver and other Hollywood morons, contact me by e-mail.
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