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Dirty Mary Crazy Larry

Posted by martinteller on September 6, 2012

Larry (Peter Fonda) is a free-spirited hot rodder and Deke (Adam Roarke) is his trusty mechanic.  Together they pull off a clever heist.  But right as they’re trying to make their getaway, Larry’s one-night stand Mary (Susan George) hops in the car to join the fun.  It’ll be wild antics and clashing personalities and fancy driving as the trio try to evade the law, especially the unorthodox cop Franklin (Vic Morrow).

Let’s get to the negatives first.  Fonda and Roarke are okay, but Susan George (most notably of Straw Dogs) is often very annoying, utilizing an obnoxious and grating American accent.  But to be fair, I’m pretty sure she’s meant to be irritating at first, and she does become more tolerable as the film progresses and the group dynamics reach an equilibrium.  More egregious is the dialogue.  The script is loaded with terrible lines that are delivered as if they’re the most clever thing you ever heard.  “We got off to a bad start.  You know what it means when someone like me gets off to a bad start?  Not a goddamn thing.”  Hell yeah!  Because… wait, what?  Was that supposed to be some kind of badass one-liner?  There’s dozens more like that, almost all of them landing with a thud.

Crap writing aside, however, as an “on the lam” flick it’s a pretty enjoyable time.  The extended car chase in Gone in 60 Seconds may be more of a technical achievement, but with the chases here at least there’s some sense of stakes, some investment in the characters, some reason to care about the outcome.  The chases are just FUN, especially when a helicopter gets involved.  I don’t know much about car chase history, but I had to wonder if this film had some influence on Blues Brothers.  Some of the stunts were quite similar.

It’s not a great film and the characters aren’t amazingly well-drawn or anything.  Mary isn’t really that dirty and Larry isn’t really that crazy and poor Deke doesn’t even rate a mention in the title.  The dialogue is definitely groan-worthy.  But I did have a sufficiently good time watching it.  The situations are engaging and the action satisfies.  And a great ending, even if you see it coming.  Rating: Good (71)


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