Deal of the Century (1983) – Review

1 Star

Do things like foreign arms sales, suicide, adultery, and treason strike you as funny? If so, Deal of the Century will amuse you to no end. This is a woefully inept satire produced by some of the most talented people in Hollywood (during its release). Tone-deaf direction from William Friedkin torpedoes Paul Brickman’s off-beat script from the confused opening passage, while Chevy Chase continues his streak of picking losers projects post-SNL.

Eddie Muntz (Chevy Chase) is a low-level arms dealer doing business with shady rebels in the fictional South America town of San Miguel. While in-country Muntz meets a fellow American (Wallace Shaw), the man confess that he’s been working on a drone fighter technology and he’s waiting for the call that a major deal went through. Before the call comes, the man kills himself. So, when the foreign dictatorship does call its Eddie who assumes the role and makes the sale.

Meanwhile, back home, a showcase of the drone technology goes terribly awry in front of the pentagon’s top officials.
Forcing the company head to enlist Eddie to negotiate a legit deal with both a manipulative dictator and the revolutionary heads who oppose him.

The weapons industry is a ripe target, but director William Friedkin misses the mark by a wide margin in this uneven satire. Not until, Lord of War would this subject get the thoughtful examination it requires. Gregory Hines and Sigourney Weaver are on hand for support, but neither are given anything funny to do. Watching the cast flounder on-screen in an aimless story is uncomfortable for the actors and audiences.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines, Sigourney Weaver

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