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Night Shift (1982)
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Review Date: November 30, 1998
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz
Producers: Brian Grazer
Actors:
Henry Winkler as Chuck Lumley
Michael Keaton as Bill Blazejowski
Shelley Long as Belinda Keaton
Plot:
A shy, timid man works in a morgue during the night shift, and can't seem to ever stand up for himself. An extraverted "idea man" joins his crazy hours, and tries to turn him into a real man. The two men join forces with a pimp-less hooker, and set up shop in their working area. All together, they attempt to make the business and the lives of the prostitutes thrive. Love, wisecracks and an '80s soundtrack ensues.
Critique:
Dated comedy offers very little in the chuckle department, with even less in narrative obstruction, but remains interesting only for the early work of now-famed director Ron Howard, the dynamic screenwriting duo team of Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz, Batman himself Michael Keaton, and a lesser known Shelly Long, from TV's "Cheers" fame. This film might've been humorous in the early 80's, but nowadays, it plays like a retardedly slow comedic mishap. The one-liners are so-so, the obstacles in the story are non-existent, and the "love story" contrived. All in all, this film is a dud, save it for the nostalgia factor.

The casting is one of the only redeemable qualities of the film, with Henry Winkler actually pulling off a character that is in no way related to his Fonzie alter-ego, or the third banana characters that he's been playing in the 90's (The retro trend sure revived this guy's flaccid acting career.) He plays his role very well, as does Keaton, who used this role to staple his acting career as the fast-talking, wise-cracking hipster. Long is decent as the prostitute, but I couldn't help but think about the unattractiveness of the rest of the streetwalkers. I mean, was it an 80's thing, or are most prostitutes douchebags to begin with? All in all, this film offers a few decent one-liners, a humdrum plotline, some decent nostalgic acting performances by its stars, and a few early cameos by some of the bigger names of showbiz today (see little known facts below.)
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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