Moving Violations (1985) / Comedy

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language, crude humor and sexuality
Running Time: 90 min.

Cast: John Murray, James Keach, Jennifer Tilly, Nedra Volz, Wendy Jo Sperber, Fred Willard, Robert Conrad, Lisa Hart Carroll, Brian Backer, Ned Eisenberg, Sally Kellerman, Clara Peller
Director: Neal Israel

Screenplay: Neal Israel, Pat Proft

 

 

Seeking to capitalize on the success of the lowbrow comedies that flourished in the mid-80s comes Moving Violations, a sparsely amusing throwaway film from the same writers of Police Academy and Bachelor Party, Pat Proft (Naked Gun, Scary Movie 3) and Neal Isreal (Thanksgiving Family Reunion).  Completely formulaic in its own way, but not a bad idea for a setting.  The premise involves a group of careless drivers who get sent to traffic school for their reckless driving, but unknown to them, a scheming judge wants them all to fail for some such reason I was never too clear on.  Luckily, her lover of a boyfriend is the fascist cop in charge of the operation, and he is all too willing to see them go down, especially since one of the students in the school (John Murray) is partially responsible for his demotion from traffic cop.

In addition to being a carbon copy of the humor of Police Academy, the filmmakers also try to capitalize on the persona of Bill Murray.  His brother John gets the starring nod, and he does little more than to try to copy Bill's shtick throughout, right down to the goofy lounge act singing.  He might look like Bill, and act like Bill, but like Jim Belushi was to John, he doesn't quite have the same talent.

Sure, there are a couple of chuckles to be had, but the plot is anemic, and quite stupid, and the jokes fizzle far more than they hit.  Your mileage will certainly vary as to how funny you find much of this childishly crude humor, and this film ran completely out of gas for me around the halfway point.  Don't blink or you'll miss some one-line appearances for future stars Don Cheadle (Ocean's Eleven) and David Hyde Pierce (Down with Love).

Moving Violations is bottom-of-the-barrel entertainment for undiscriminating audiences.  No clean record for the makers of this film -- they need their licenses revoked!

2004 Vince Leo