Used Cars (1980) starring Kurt Russell, Jack Warden, Gerrit Graham , Frank McRae, Deborah Harmon, Joe Flaherty, David L. Lander, Michael McKean directed by Robert Zemeckis Movie Review

Used Cars (1980)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Kurt Russell in Used Cars (1980)

Shifty as a Used Cars Salesman

"Used Cars" comes from the team of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, a partnership which gave us the great "Back to the Future" movies and the nostalgic "I Wanna Hold Your Hand". But "Used Cars" is something else, it is like Zemeckis and Gale behaving badly with all the humour which would not fit in one of their other movies and getting it out of their system. As such we have showgirls, topless women, a dead man buried in a car as well as a shifty used car salesman who sticks on bumpers with bubble gum. It is simply daft but if daft is what you want it works especially with Kurt Russell at the centre of it all.

Rudy Russo (Kurt Russell - Elvis) is a used car salesman with grand plans, he plans to buy his way into politics. But in order to do so he needs money and fortunately his kindly old boss Luke Fuchs (Jack Warden - Beyond the Poseidon Adventure) says he will lend him the money. The trouble is that Luke has a brother Roy with a car lot on the other side of the road and wants Luke's land, he wants it so much he is prepared to have someone cause Luke to have a heart attack. When Luke dies Rudy and his colleagues decide they need to do everything they can to keep Luke's car lot out of Roy's hands whilst Roy will do anything to get it.

Jack Warden in Used Cars (1980)

So for about the first 20 or so minutes "Used Cars" has a sort of storyline as we are introduced to Rudy and his shifty ways of selling cars and even shiftier plans to enter politics. We also get made aware of the long running feud between the Fuchs brothers with Luke not wanting his brother Roy to get his car lot and Roy willing to do anything to get it. The question is where does all this go? Well it doesn't really go anywhere other than a lot of comedy surrounding the ongoing feud with Rudy now doing what ever he can to outsmart Roy and make a buck selling cars. Having said that it does introduce us to Luke's long lost daughter which adds another angle although a predictable one at that.

The thing is that if you want something coherent then "Used Cars" is going to be a struggle but if you fancy something which scatters comedy all over the place with slapstick and simple debauchery it works. As such we have simple gags from Rudy tampering with car mileage, we have a shifty sales commercial filmed using cars in a sports stadium car lot and various moments of nudity. It is seriously daft but when you have Kurt Russell and a group of strippers on top of used cars to attract customers from Roy's lot it is simply hilarious.

As for the acting well Kurt Russell makes this movie as he is comically shifty, constantly getting himself in the shit and trying to come up with a way out of it. And Russell has good support from enjoyable performances from Frank McRae and Gerrit Graham. But then there is Jack Warden who plays both the Fuchs brothers Luke and Roy and whilst Warden is good it is also a waste of an opportunity to play on the feud between the brothers.

What this all boils down to is that if all you want is some daft fun then "Used Cars" will entertain with its feel of a lot of gags loosely connected. But if you are looking for something more coherent it will make you smile but also struggle to keep your attention.