Confectionary millionaire Michael Bannon (Michael Sarrazin - They Shoot Horses, Don't They?) grows bored during a business meeting and picks up the phone where he issues the command "Gumball". The command spreads and a group of racing enthusiasts make their way to New York City where they meet with Bannon who is running the Gumball Rally, a race from New York to California with no rules at all. But Lieutenant Roscoe (Norman Burton - Diamonds Are Forever) is well aware of the Gumball going on and will do anything to stop it.
I was too young for "The Gumball Rally" when it came out and only became aware of it during the early 80s when I was introduced to "The Cannonball Run" and also learnt about "Cannonball" another car movie from 1976. The thing is that back then when I was still a young teenager I preferred "The Cannonball Run" as it was simply whacky with Burt Reynolds leading a pack of recognizable stars in a madcap adventure. But over the years my fondness for "The Cannonball Run" has waned and have started to grow fond of "The Gumball Rally" because whilst all it is is a comical race across the country it is more grown up.
Anyway there isn't a great deal which needs to be said about "The Gumball Rally" because like other movies which have been inspired by the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash it is all about the comical escapades from the diverse characters as they race across country. Their escapades include various run ins with inept cops as well as some skulduggery and of course plenty of stunt work.
But the big difference between "The Gumball Rally" and "The Cannonball Run" is that the stars of this movie are the cars. In fact for me as a teenager was a problem because I enjoyed the outrageous comedy of "The Cannonball Run" with Burt Reynolds leading a recognizable bunch of stars in a lot of set piece gags.
What this all boils down to is that "The Gumball Rally" is a lot of fun but where as some car movies are about the stars and the comedy set pieces this is more about the cars being the stars making it just that little bit more grown up.