Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fuzz (1972)



Although it’s confusing, dull, and unpleasant, the crime comedy Fuzz boasts ample star power, with Burt Reynolds playing the cranky leader of a group of undercover cops and Raquel Welch busting out of her sweaters as one of his colleagues; furthermore, the supporting cast features the laconic Tom Skerritt and the irascible Jack Weston playing cops, plus the stoic Yul Brynner as a villain. There’s even a big name behind the scenes, because screenwriter Evan Hunter adapted the story from one of the acclaimed “87th Precinct” novels he wrote under the pen name Ed McBain. However, even calling the narrative of Fuzz a story is exaggerating—to quote the Bard, this picture is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. The main plot involves a deaf criminal (Brynner) murdering Boston city officials as a means of extorting payments from the government, but there’s also an ugly subplot about homeless people getting set on fire, and yet another subplot about a string of robberies. Additionally, the film offers a cursory nod to then-current Women’s Lib issues by having Welch’s character fend off horny suitors while trying to prove she’s as qualified to wear a badge as any man. In fact, it’s almost easier to list things that aren’t included in this overstuffed flick than to itemize its components. Worse, the excessive approach is exacerbated by whiplash-inducing tonal shifts. In certain scenes, Fuzz is horrific, as when people are burned alive, and in others, Fuzz is silly, as when Reynolds goes undercover in a nun’s habit despite sporting his signature moustache. Given screenwriter Hunter’s long history of writing police stories, either the serious version of Fuzz or the stupid version of Fuzz might have worked, but this disjointed hybrid is a dreary mess. And that’s a shame, because the leading players (with the exception of the ever-vapid Welch) present interesting personas, and the movie has fleeting moments of amusing interplay and/or dynamic action. However, these glimmers of entertainment hardly merit sitting through 92 minutes of tacky pandemonium.

Fuzz: LAME

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Saw most of it this morning on THIS-TV. Your review is spot on. Glad I saw it, then came to your blog to see your take.