Thursday, March 22, 2018

How Come Nobody’s on Our Side? (1975)

          If you’re willing to overlook a huge problem—the absence of a real story—then you might be able to groove on the silly pleasures of How Come Nobody’s On Our Side? A wannabe farcical comedy about two bikers who try to score bread by running drugs across the Mexican border, the picture stars two veterans of ’60s/’70s biker flicks, Larry Bishop and Adam Roarke. Here, they work in the mode of classic comedy duos: Hope and Crosby, Martin and Lewis, etc. Although Bishop and Roarke put forth mighty efforts, the jokes aren’t strong enough to sustain interest, and their characters aren’t sufficiently differentiated to create strong friction. Worse, the plot lacks forward momentum until the climax, which resorts to that dullest of clichés, a madcap chase scene. It’s fitting that the movie features a scene of our heroes escaping trouble in a hot-air balloon, because from start to finish, this whole thing runs on fumes.
          After Brandy (Bishop) and Person (Roarke) quit a job playing bikers in a low-budget movie, they hit the road looking for new opportunities. Enter Brigitte (Alexandra Hay), Person’s freethinking sister. For some reason she has a groovy house on the beach in Los Angeles, so the bikers hang out there for a while. Eventually someone has the bright idea to run dope, triggering complicated schemes—Brigitte seduces a cop to get the use of his uniform so Brandy, posing as a policeman, can squeeze information from a border guard, and so on. Some of the schemes are mildly amusing, and the film’s banter is periodically entertaining, but the lack of narrative focus grows more and more frustrating as the picture drags on. Plus, some bits just don’t work, like the vignette of the bikers buying drugs from a couple played by Penny Marshall and Rob Reiner.
          Apparently filmed in 1972 but shelved until 1975, How Come Nobody’s on Our Side? is a missed opportunity, because Bishop and Roarke render such an appealingly cranky buddy-picture vibe that better material might have resulted in success. But in addition to constructing a flabby plot, writer Leigh Chapman shows a weakness for sitcom-style jokes. The aforementioned balloon scene involves the bikers begging a little person for a ride before resorting to physical threats. At that point, the little person exclaims: “Why didn’t you say that in the first place? Look at all the time you wasted trying to reason with me!” As with so much of How Come Nobody’s on Our Side?, it’s enough to make you almost laugh.

How Come Nobody’s On Our Side?: FUNKY


Guy Callaway said...

A wacky biker flick? Well, I guess there was 'The Pink Angels'.

Eric Colin said...

I really love both Bishop and Roarke, so I desperately wanted this to be a home run. As you mentioned though, it is amusing from time to time and both main characters really try to do their best with what they were given.