The Cannonball Run (1981) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Reynolds and many of his pals star in yet another reckless-driving movie on the order of Smokey & the Bandit. The story concerns a coast-to-coast car race that defies the country’s speed laws. But the jokes and theme is so worn by now that the film runs out of steam long before the cars cross the finish line. A steady stream of corny gags accompanies the crashes and mechanical mishaps. The good breezy fun of the Bandit outings is sorely missing.

Burt Reynolds’ charima can’t save this turkey that was an inexplicable box-office smash. Directed by former stuntman Hal Needham, who happened to be the man behind Reynolds’ other hits Smokey, and Hooper. Good ‘Ol Boy Burt and his constant sidekick Dom Deluise are amongst many celebrities all playing drivers who have disguised themselves as to not draw the attention of Highway Patrol officers.

The Cannonball Run may have proven to be a commercial hit, but the bottom was falling out of Burt’s career at this point. His subsequent films would all prove to be flops of the first order, his loyal fan base eventually deserted him, and he was nearly exiled from the business by decade’s end. So while he may have literally laughed his way to the bank on this picture and it’s even worse sequel, he was destroying his name value in the process. Bad career move, Burt.

Director: Hal Needham
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise

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