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Find the Lady
(1976)
(a.k.a. Call The Cops! & Kopek and Broom
& Good Idea! 2)

Director: John Trent     
Cast:
Lawrence Dane, John Candy, Mickey Rooney, Peter Cook


There's a scene in Find The Lady with Dane and Candy, who are lost while trying to find a concert hall. The camera is close to Dane and Candy looking at a map on their car trunk. One of them looks behind him - why, the concert hall was behind them all this time!

And there's another scene with Dane and Candy at the home of the uncle whose niece has been kidnapped. While talking, someone outside rings the doorbell. The uncle looks at his servant Hugo, nods and says "Hugo". Candy starts towards the door, and there's confusion. Didn't you tell me to go to the door? asks Candy. No, replies the uncle, I said "Hugo". Candy thought he heard "You go" - isn't that hilarious?

No, it isn't. And neither is the rest of the movie. I didn't laugh or smile once at this complete waste of time. The only entertainment comes from wondering why it was made in the first place. Looking at the credits, it's revealed that this was a Canadian-British production. Knowing the state of Canada's film industry during this period, it can probably be safely deducted that this was a tax-shelter production, with Canadian investors at very little risk. And the Brits invest in it as well, providing enough English actors to make it a "British" movie, so it can be easily released to British theaters because of quotas on British movies, no matter how terrible they may be. As for its release in Canada - so what if it only lasts a week or two in theaters - the Canadian government has invested some of its own money in the movie, meaning that the distributor only has to put up around 25% of release costs and taxpayers' dollars will take care of the rest. That 25% can be easily recouped with a quick theatrical release and sales to TV. So why risk a larger release, especially since Canadians are convinced (for mostly legitimate reasons) that Canadian movies stink?

The end result is a boring mishmash of sitcom antics, bad performances, crude slapstick, and the curiosity of hearing Canadian, British, and American accents from characters supposedly in an American city but looking more like Eastern Canada. It's a wonder that Candy's likeability manages to shine throughout this mess - it must be the explanation why he was still popular up to his death when his motion picture resume is packed with rotten movies like Who's Harry Crumb, Going Berserk, Delirious, Brewster's Millions, Volunteers, Armed and Dangerous, The Great Outdoors, Speed Zone, Nothing But Trouble....I've made my point.

This movie is a sequel (!) to the previous year's It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time (a.k.a. Good Idea!), which also had Dane and Candy, and I've thankfully never seen. Dane and Candy reprise their characters of Kopek (Candy) and Broom (Dane), who are two bumbling cops in some unnamed "American" city. While keeping surveillance on two mobsters in town (one of them a Truman Capoteish Mickey Rooney), the niece of one of the city's biggest bigwigs is kidnapped. The bigwig puts pressure on the police captain, who assigns Kopek and Broom to find her.

It turns out that the uncle assigned the mobsters to kidnap his niece, so when he pays the ransom, the money will go back to him and he can pay his gambling debts. (Unless he is going to declare the ransom money on his IRS forms, I'm not sure how this plan can work out satisfactory.) But it turns out that the mobsters had kidnapped the wrong woman, and the niece had run off with her boyfriend. Then she gets kidnapped by someone else. Soon the police are looking at three ransom notes. Yes, three. It's not made clear where the third one came from, though there are indications it was sent by the boyfriend to explain her disappearance. Laughing yet?

During the investigation, Kopek and Broom get the department's wiretapper to trace any possible calls from the kidnappers. This fellow is Asian, so I guess that explains why the soundtrack plays electronic Asian music when he's at work. Ironically, this actor survives this insulting treatment to become the one sympathetic character in the movie.

The climax takes place in a fun house at a carnival, with all the characters running around and bumping into each other while the exhibits inside get turned on and confuse everyone, with circus music playing in the background. Watching this, I realized that this fun house scene was just like others I've seen in other movies - namely that, although real fun houses may provide thrills and some amusement, fun houses in movies are some of the lamest places you'll find on the screen.

I was thinking of writing some final joke by bringing up the alternate title of Good Idea! 2, but that would be too easy and expected. Guess the movie rubbed on me a little too hard.

Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)

See also: King Frat, Night Patrol, Crime Busters

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