Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Richard Dreyfuss has always had a certain cockiness about him. He carries himself like a high-school basketball guard, ready to fake you out and go for the basket. And he talks the same way, often with a little smile to let you know there's an edge to his thinking, an angle. He had that way about him in "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz," and he has it still. It keeps me watching him even during the slow passages of his movies; there's always the feeling that what you see is not necessarily all you get.
Dreyfuss and his style are the two best things in "Stakeout," a movie that consists of a good idea surrounded by a bad one. The good idea is the film's basic premise: Two cops stake out a good-looking woman whose ex-boyfriend is a dangerous escaped convict. During the long, weary hours while they're watching her, one of the cops falls in love. He finds a way to move into her life, leaving his partner stuck across the street with the binoculars.
That's the good idea, further fleshed out with the notion that Dreyfuss and his partner (Emilio Estevez) alternate shifts with two other cops who don't much like them. What would happen if the other cops saw Dreyfuss waking up in bed with the suspect?
The movie's bad idea is that this comic notion needs to be surrounded by a violent thriller. The opening scenes of the film are abrupt and bloody, as the dangerous convict (Aidan Quinn) escapes from prison and heads toward a showdown with Dreyfuss and Estevez. The closing scenes are another bad idea, still one more of those routine Hollywood chases and shootouts, with a fight on a boat for good measure.