They All Laughed (DVD)
New York's Odyssey Detective Agency is hired by two different clients to follow two women suspected of infidelity. Ladies' man John Russo (Ben Gazzara) trails Angela Niotes (Audrey Hepburn), the elegant wife of a wealthy Italian industrialist, while Charles Rutledge (John Ritter) and Arthur Brodsky follow Dolores Martin (Dorothy Stratten), the beautiful young wife of a jealous husband. Their respective cases are complicated when John falls for Angela, and Charles falls for Dolores.
Director Peter Bogdanovich started off the 1980s with this trifle: a sweet romantic valentine to a New York City where bumbling detectives fall in love with their targets. This is a Big Apple where country music blares, taxi drivers are gorgeous models, sass permeates, and Ben Gazzara embodies all that is cool. He is the chief hound in the blue-collar Odyssey Detective Agency specializing in observing wives for their suspicious husbands. John Ritter, who became famous four years later with Three's Company
, plays the equally daft Charles, a man who literally falls head over heels with cutie-pie Dolores (Dorothy Stratten). Gazzara falls for a socialite played by Audrey Hepburn (in her last starring role). The veteran actors are at their movie-star best. The film has a casual style and charm, another change of pace for Bogdanovich who was still trying to find the magic of his first films (including The Last Picture Show
and What's Up, Doc?
). He fills the screen with gorgeous females including Patti Hansen as an all-knowing cab driver, Colleen Camp as a country singer, and Stratten, the former Playboy Playmate of the Year. However, if there is a big surprise, it's co-writer/producer Blaine Novak as the long-haired, roller-skating detective Arthur, who has a tart remark for everyone and nearly steals every scene.
The film ran into trouble in post-production when Stratten, who was now an item with Bogdanovich, was murdered by her estranged husband. The eerie similarities with the movie were another reason no studio wanted to release it. Bogdanovich funded it himself and when it bombed, the artistic and personal loss resulted in the director not making a film until Mask, nearly five years later. --Doug Thomas