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Comedy superstar Dan Aykroyd stars as a mild-mannered professor of chivalry and infamous underworld pimp in the hilarious comic romp Doctor Detroit. When Professor Clifford Skridlow (Aykroyd) accidentally gets conned into taking on the persona of "Doctor Detroit," he soon finds himself up to his neck in luscious ladies, the Chicago Mob, and a notorious crime czar called "Mom" (Kate Murtagh). It's comedic chaos all the way as Aykroyd attempts to juggle two very different career paths without losing his life or his mind. From the producers of The Blues Brothers, and co-starring Donna Dixon and Fran Drescher, comes the laugh-out-loud film about a man committed to making the world safe for insanity.
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Top Customer Reviews
A little bit of the humor is dated, and the hair is *very* eighties, but the story is well done. A sequel is clearly set up in the closing moments of the film, but the poor box office of what was expected to be a major hit prevented that from ever coming to be. Still, Clifford's antics while he tries to balance his job, the call girls, and a major fundraiser for his university, and trying to catch a little sleep in between, are very entertaining.
One kvetch I have is the cover. It's a small thing, but in the original poster and prior releases on VHS, Dan Aykroyd has a sword in his right hand, skewering a roast chicken, as he swings on a steel chain, clearly showing a swashbuckling theme. On this version, his hand is empty. No idea why the new release does this, except political correctness. I mean, hell, doesn't every boy want to swing on a chain, brandishing a sword, with four call girls in the background? (Joking....)
Seriously, though, this movie is not, *not*, NOT for children. There are numerous sexual references (though oddly no nudity except on a TV set in the background), and the language is appropriately adult. Trust me, you *don't* want to have to explain the mention of battery operated devices, underwater....
Why four stars? Well, this is an older movie that misses at some points, but it is what it is, a comic romp, fairly absurd at times, very absurd at others, but just put the critical part of your brain on hold, and hit "Play". Fran Drescher, as unbelievable as this may sound, is one of the call girls; never been a big fan of hers, but she doesn't hurt the film. Look for a "special appearance" by James Brown near the finale.
All in all, an enjoyable and undeservedly forgotten movie from Aykroyd's early career.
Aykroyd plays Clifford Skridlow, a professor of comparative literature (primarily focusing on such antiquated notions as chivalry and honor) who fancies speed walking, Indian food, foreign cinema, and lives with his parents (Cliff's father, played by Furth, is chancellor of the university)...basically the antithesis of cool...on the flipside we see Smooth Walker (Hesseman), man about town, making his living peddling the wares of his rather fine stable of ladies, who are coveted by Mom (Murtagh), the big cheese in town, and to whom Smooth is in debt up to his eyeballs. Mom's willing to settle up (everything Smooth owes, including his ladies, in exchange for his life), but the quick thinking Smooth creates a fictional character called Doctor Detroit, claiming he's in charge of show, and is also trying to muscle in on Mom's territory. After a couple of coincidental meetings, Smooth sets the naïve Cliff up as the patsy, and splits town. With the help of the girls and Smooth's driver Diavolo (Carter), Cliff dons the role as "the bad man from Michigan" out of a sense of honor and duty towards the ladies, assuming the role of their protector. The situation quickly spirals out of control as the strain of leading a double life wears on Cliff, culminating in his worlds colliding when an alumni dinner and the player's ball are scheduled for the same night, at the same hotel, both of which he's supposed to be in attendance, in one persona or another...not only that, but Mom, along with her goons, decide to crash the party and settle the good doctor's hash once and for all.
This was a pretty ridiculous movie, but I enjoyed it, and thought it was pretty funny. Aykroyd does a great job in his dual role, but is helped considerably by the supporting cast, especially the women, who are often dressed provocatively and hard not to notice (oh momma), including Ms. Dixon, who met and married Aykroyd during shooting of this film. Also doing a great job is T.K. Carter, as Smooth's driver, and Kate Murtagh as `Mom', the film's heavy (both figuratively and literally). Did anyone else notice Mom's baldheaded henchmen were named Johnny and Carson? Get it? Johnny Carson? And if the one playing Johnny (Hank Salas) looks familiar, it's probably because he also played Mike, the thug Matt Dillon's character Melvin Moody hired to protect his interests in the 1980 film My Bodyguard. The comedy doesn't flow as smoothly throughout here as in some of Aykroyd's other films of the time, but it is present, and in healthy doses. A few of my favorite scenes include the one where Aykroyd dresses up as a southern gentleman lawyer to get one of the girls out of trouble (the courtroom judge was a real cracker), the scene where we first see Aykroyd as Doctor Detroit, dressed in a scruffy Kato Kaelin wig, yellow sports jacket, green polyester slacks, white platform boots, and a metal gauntlet on his hand, and then near the end, during the finale, when Doctor Detroit does battle with Mom at the hotel. Another scene I really liked was during the Player's Ball, when James Brown was performing. I've never seen a 50-year-old man do the splits like Brown did here, sliding back up as smooth as you please. While I'm going that way I wanted to mention the music, which helped the film a lot. There were some excellent songs spread throughout by such artists as Pattie Brooks, Devo, Rick James, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, and The Godfather of Soul, The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Soul Brother Number One, Mr. James Brown. The film is rated R, but only because of profanity...alas, there is no real skin to be had here, which was kind of a disappointment given the attractive supporting female cast.
The widescreen (1.85:1) anamorphic picture on this Universal Studios DVD release looks very sharp and clean, and the Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio comes through very clear. Surprisingly there are no special features, not even an original trailer, to be had, but I know the film didn't do very well at the time of its theatrical release, gaining more of a following, I think, from cable viewers (this was how I originally saw the film, since I wasn't old enough to see it in the theaters). One thing I noticed was a couple of errors in the subtitles. The one that stuck out was near the beginning, when T.K. Carter's character calls out to Skridlow (whose speed walking) from his car, "Hey man, nice legs." In the movie, Skridlow replies "Thank you", but in the subtitles he says something very different...watch with English subtitles activated to see what I mean.
By the way, while the film does feature Detroit in the title, much of it was shot in Chicago, the exteriors at least, a favored location of Aykroyd.
This movie is produced and directed by the same person who directed the original Blues Brothers movie. I take this flick as a series of loosely strung together comedy skits. The plot is corny but its the perfect framework to hang a collection of verbal and visual puns, anecdotes and poking fun at stereotypes.
In this way it is very much the same formula used in the BB movie
The scene where Akroyd impersonates a southern lawyer, complete with a colonel sanders looking outfit he just bought from an attorney in the same courthouse is for me a laugh riot.
The movie was filmed in Chicago and as a native that appealed to me. Lots of visual and dialogue references to the locale.
I can't imagine I'm alone in appreciating this movie...... it's been recently reissued after being unavailable for a number of years........
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