Stakeout (1987) – John Badham

Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez star in this buddy cop action comedy, that sees the mustachioed pair drawing a stakeout assignment, which is going to get a lot more personal than one of them had planned.

Slightly goofy, but with a sense of fun, Stakeout directed by John Badham sees Chris (Dreyfuss) and Bill (Estevez) drawing part of what they think is a crap assignment: the night shift part of a stakeout to watch the ex-girlfriend, Maria McGuire (Madeline Stowe) of a recently escaped prisoner, Richard Montgomery (Aidan Quinn).

Unhappy about the job, seeing as they were assigned to it because of some interdepartmental cooperation with the FBI, the pair keep themselves occupied by pulling pranks on the day shift agents, played by Forest Whitaker and Dan Lauria.

However, when Chris catches sight of Maria, he begins to develop a little crush. And who could blame him? I did too! When he enters her apartment to bug her phone, there’s a spark and the beginning of some chemistry, and fate, or at least the screenwriter, keep coming up with reasons for the pair to bump into each other.

And what happens when a romantic relationship begins between the watched and the watcher, especially when it’s all under surveillance, and Montgomery is getting closer to his target?

There’s some sexism at work in the film, some of it cruel, but the characters actually get called on it three quarters of the way through the film when things really start to unravel for the pair of cops.

I like the pairing of Dreyfuss and Estevez, and the matching moustaches are just the perfect touch. And Madeline Stowe… this was the first movie I saw her in, and developed a huge crush on her, funny, smart, beautiful, who could blame Chris for falling so hard?

The film’s action beats aren’t as tight as they could have been, and the comedy sometimes is a little broad, but for the most part, the film works, and it works at its best when Chris and Bill share the screen and are causing grief for everyone else.

I hadn’t watched this one since the early 90s, and man, I really got a kick out of it. There’s just so much in this one to reallly enjoy, and it all plays off Dreyfuss and Estevez, in fact, I wish the film had been slightly longer to allow the characters to have a few more beats together, there’s a lot of material to work with there.

This one is also fun to watch, because it was shot in Vancouver, standing in for Seattle, and has some very familiar looking Canadian actors. The film did well enough to spawn a sequel six years later, called Another Stakeout which reunited director Badham with Dreyfuss and Estevez and threw Rosie O’Donnell into the mix. I’m not sure if I’m gonna watch that one again, I saw it back when it first hit video, and right now, can’t remember a thing about it.

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