Stakeout (1987) starring Richard Dreyfuss, Emilio Estevez, Madeleine Stowe, Aidan Quinn directed by John Badham Movie Review

Stakeout (1987)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez in Stakeout (1987)

Romancing the Stowe

Seattle detectives Chris Lecce (Richard Dreyfuss) and Bill Reimers (Emilio Estevez) are not only laid back slobs but have a knack for causing destruction in the line of duty. So when a prisoner who is accused of killing an FBI agent escapes they are put on stakeout duty with detectives Phil Coldshank (Dan Lauria) and Jack Pismo (Forest Whitaker). The object of their observations is Maria McGuire (Madeleine Stowe) the girlfriend of the escaped convict and that causes problems when Lecce starts to fall for her. When the escaped convict shows up that means even more trouble especially when he learns that his girl is with another man.

I've never really understood what the appeal of "Stakeout" was that it warranted a sequel. It was entertaining enough as a one off, it also had some very noticeable issues but it did had some enjoyable performances but it wasn't anything special just another cop comedy which ended up awkward in trying to shoe horn comedy with a thriller storyline.

Now if you split "Stakeout" in two there is initially the good side which is the comedy of Lecce and Reimers staking out Maria with Lecce falling for her. The chemistry which Dreyfuss and Estevez had is what the movie is all about and it is genuinely good fun with Dreyfuss delivering that comical confidence which makes him surprisingly charming. In fact I would go further and say that "Stakeout" works because of Dreyfuss and his easy going style works well in scenes with Madeleine Stowe where she spends a lot of time looking sweet.

But here is the trouble with "Stakeout" as either side of this is an actual cop thriller with a killer out of prison putting the life of his ex-girlfriend and the cop she falls for in danger. The comedy and the thriller aspect do not gel making it two movies shoe horned into the space of one. Thankfully the thriller aspects bookend the comedy as if it had switched between the two even more it would have ended up unbearable.

What this all boils down to is that "Stakeout" is a fun movie thanks to the comedy of Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez but it is also a movie which doesn't gel as at either end it is a cop thriller and in between it is a cop comedy.