Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)

10 01 2011

I guess this is somewhat like Two-Lane Blacktop. I mean both movies have two men, a girl, and a car but uh, that’s about it. Where Hellman’s classic is an subtle and endlessly watchable journey through Americana, this is more of a goofy little road movie. It’s a little funny, but it’s mostly forgettable. Both films are obviously products of their time, at least in content, but the same applies for pretty much everything about this film. It’s so seventies with Peter Fonda  hamming it up and Susan George being quite possibly the least interesting female lead I’ve ever seen.

The story is pretty simple, which I don’t mind, but it is pretty much built upon the idea of a never-ending car chase. Since this is the case, the movie ends up feeling more than a little hollow. It’s merely chase after chase with extremely obvious attempts at “memorable” dialogue. In fact, every other thing that Peter Fonda says is clearly trying to break into the American consciousness. It’s really a silly goal for a film that seems like it should be grounded and more understated. Adam Roarke provides this to some extent, but his characters just ends up seeming useless, except to create unnecessary drama between the two men towards the film’s ending.

The ending creates another problem all on its own. I admire the fact that it happens so abruptly but ultimately it makes the experience feel a little pointless. Sure, the film is trying to be self-contained and I admire that in some regard, but the characters’ vices and faults are not so much endearing or even interesting as much as they are annoying. Peter Fonda chuckles to himself a lot and hates women. Susan George gets upset about this hate, and Adam Roarke just sort of sits there in all of his deadpan glory. I don’t mean to make this movie out to be a complete failure, but mentioning it in the same breath as Two-Lane Blacktop is just unfair to both movies. It’s a nice little movie, but not likely to set anyone’s world on fire.

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