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‘Disorganized Crime’

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 14, 1989


Jim Kouf
Hoyt Axton;
Corbin Bernsen;
Ruben Blades;
Fred Gwynne;
Ed O'Neill;
Lou Diamond Phillips;
Daniel Roebuck;
William Russ

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It's amazing how much mileage you can get out of four scruffy scalawags and a little manure.

Though inititially slower than an 18-wheeler struggling up Pikes Peak, "Disorganized Crime" moves along at a right smart clip once all the characters establish themselves and step in a little something, drop trou or get ants in the pants. This is action comedy for those who are not ashamed to be inappropriate.

It's a human rehash of the city-mouse/country-mouse story, created by Jim Kouf, who also wrote the buddy-cop hit "Stakeout." Here, the heroes are on the other side of the badge: four bank robbers summoned to Montana by Frank, a criminal mastermind (Corbin Bernsen). Alas, Frank is captured by two beefy cops before the men arrive at the meeting place -- a farmhouse set against a backdrop of mountains so magnificent you think, where's Heidi?

As Max, an explosives expert, former Munster Fred Gwynne holds the script in place, reliable as a two-ton paperweight. And while a visit to Camera-Muggers Anonymous couldn't hurt him, Rube'n Blades lends comic zest as the rueful Carlos, a fastidious hooligan who gets dipped in the dung. Lou Diamond Phillips and William Russ complete the cast as the easygoing getaway driver and the hot-tempered safecracker.

Naturally the four do not get along at first but must learn to work together as a team. And while they prepare their plastic explosives, maps and stuff, they learn that sharing can be a positive thing. Meanwhile, Frank escapes and slowly makes his way back to the farmhouse, dogged by the detectives, who are outwitted at every turn by the local constabulary. Hoohboy! What'll those Hollywood sharpies think of next?

"Disorganized Crime" is rated R for language.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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