Moving Violations

Between the two of them, screenwriters Pat Proft and Neal Israel have been involved with a whole host of successful comedies – including Police Academy, The Naked Gun, and Hot Shots! While Moving Violations (written by the duo) is nowhere nearly as funny as any of those films, there are enough laughs to be had here to warrant a mild recommendation. The movie revolves around a group of misfits who are sentenced to a week’s worth of driving school after crashing their cars in a series of comical fender-benders. Their leader is Dana Cannon (John Murray), a sarcastic landscaper who’s made an enemy of a hard-nosed cop (James Keach). Moving Violations is packed with instances of over-the-top, silly humor, but that’s the sort of thing that one expects from Proft and Israel. That the film never becomes anything more than a reasonably diverting way to kill 90 minutes can be attributed to the less-than-fascinating characters and unusually spotty joke-to-guffaw ratio. Murray seems to be channeling his brother Bill, and delivers a performance that’s essentially a carbon-copy of some of the elder Murray’s early work (ie Caddyshack and Stripes). Yet it’s impossible to completely resist the film’s emphasis on wacky high jinks, primarily because such antics are disappointingly absent from most contemporary comedies.

**1/2 out of ****

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