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'Car 54, Where Are You?'

By David Mills
Washington Post Staff Writer
January 29, 1994


Bill Fishman
David Johansen;
John C. McGinley;
Fran Drescher;
Nipsey Russell;
Al Lewis;
Rosie O'Donnell
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent

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Let's make short work of this. "Car 54, Where Are You?" is a stupid movie. Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid. If you pay money to see it, then you're stupid. I got paid to see it, and I feel stupid. Stupid because I resisted the impulse to flee the theater after 15 minutes, clutching my scalp and yelling "Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid!," and then kick the glass out of the candy counter and slap the zit-faced punk who tore my ticket. Sure, innocent people would've been hurt, but such an outburst might have at least purged me of the toxins that constitute "Car 54, Where Are You?"

Listen people, life is too short. I could've strolled out of the multiplex yesterday and slipped on some ice and busted my skull open and died. In which case my last 90 minutes on Earth would have been spent sitting through "Car 54, Where Are You?" It is a chilling notion indeed.

Based on an early-'60s sitcom remembered by no one under 40, "Car 54, Where Are You?" is a slapstick cop farce that revels in simple-minded jokes about boogers, erections, catheters and nipple-piercing. Resuscitating the roles of Officer Toody and Officer Muldoon -- made famous by Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne -- are David Johansen and John C. McGinley. Johansen, of course, is one of the planet's least amusing life forms, whether as a squinty, sandpaper-voiced comic actor (like here) or as the campy, gate-mouthed song stylist Buster Poindexter (actually, Johansen sings in the movie too). McGinley plays Muldoon as a big, unappealing jerk, repressed and repressive. Watching them together is about as much fun as being Tased.

Also on hand are a couple of embalmed relics from the TV series: Nipsey Russell and the frightening Al Lewis (as "Schnauzer").

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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