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‘Speed Zone’ (PG)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
April 21, 1989

"Speed Zone," starring John Candy, is the scarily unfunny third installment in the "Cannonball Run" series, and it does something that I thought was virtually impossible -- it makes us nostalgic for the previous two.

Basically, this dilapidated auto-farce is nothing more than a feature-length car chase, peppered throughout with celebrity cameos. But the car chases are enervated, the jokes are feeble, and even the celebrities seem cut-rate. Among those showing up for the faux-fun this time are Donna Dixon, Jamie Farr, Eugene Levy, Carl Lewis, Tim Matheson, Michael Spinks and, last but not least, the Smothers Brothers. And, watching them, all you can think is, don't these people have agents?

The only star who brings any life to her bit is Brooke Shields in the role she was born to play -- an airline stewardess. She even manages to maintain a little dignity, and under these circumstances nothing greater could be hoped for.

School-of-John-Landis-director Jim Drake (who is actually a much acclaimed television director) can't even seem to bump two cars together, which is the action genre equivalent of having pre-Stone Age skills.

The previous Cannonball sagas were monuments of cheap, fast, drive-in style trash. They were bad -- terrible, in fact. But this, this is ... unspeakable. Oh, for the glint of sunlight off Burt's toupee, for Jerry Reed's country strut. Oh, for Frank and Sammy and Farrah. Oh, for Dom and Dino.

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