Moving Violations (1985)

“How about a little strip search and we’ll call it even.”

In Moving Violations, after committing various traffic violations, a motley group of drivers are suddenly on the wrong side of the law and on the bad side of a couple of highway patrol officers. The film begins with several scenes showing exactly why these drivers end up attending traffic school. Landscaper Dana Cannon (John Murray), for example, is no respecter of persons–especially if there’s a uniform involved. His wild careening all over the road in a dilapidated old vehicle loaded with plants lands him several tickets, and offering his communist party card instead of his license doesn’t help. Puppeteer Scott Greeber (Brian Backer) is the victim of a run-away puppet theatre. Rocket scientist Amy Hopkins (Jennifer Tilly) is also condemned to traffic school along with hypochondriac Joan Pudillo (Wendie Jo Sperber).

Dana Cannon quickly gets on the wrong side of uptight Deputy Halik (James Keach) and his partner/girlfriend Deputy Virginia Morris (Lisa Hart Carroll). But Cannon doesn’t stop there; he also annoys luscious Judge Nedra Henderson (Sally Kellerman).

One of the biggest criticisms of this film is that John Murray, who plays main character Dana Cannon, acts too much like his famous brother, Bill Murray. Who cares? Murray delivers a great deadpan comic performance, and it’s unfortunate he never really launched a film career worthy of his talents. Moving Violations is another of those great 80s comedies, and it contains one of the best chase scenes ever made in comedy film. Special note goes to James Keach who was brave enough to run around Los Angeles in bondage gear. The Anchor Bay DVD is excellent quality and the picture is a considerable improvement when compared to my old, but much-loved, VHS tape.

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