Car 54, Where Are You?

You know you’re in trouble when you think a movie has pretty much wrapped itself up only to check the clock and see just 55 minutes have gone by. This happened to me while viewing Car 54, Where Are You?, one of the worst comedies ever made. And trust me, I am not exaggerating, since anyone who dares to watch this train wreck would readily agree.

Based on a ‘60s television series I’m sure few remember, this 1994 release chronicles the supposedly wacky misadventures of two Brooklyn cops. One is extremely wacky but dedicated, while the other lives to enforce the rules with extreme justice. Why, they’re like the original odd couple, huh? Needless to say, they don’t get along at first (natch), but through a series of mishaps they become friends.

Rosie O’ Donnel makes her big screen debut here, and like the rest of the characters she quickly had me hating her with a passion. I honestly could not get into this movie because of how irritating the actors portrayed their roles, from Rosie’s gum-smacking housewife to the deep-throated wacky cop whose facial expressions reminded me of silly putty gone berserk.

Car 54, Where Are You? has a lot of comedy spelled with a “k.” None of the jokes work from start to finish, and either made me groan or squirm from being nauseous. A good example: radar tracks the locations of the police cars, so when all of them converge, the captain assumes they are helping to foil a big crime. In truth, the cops have just stopped to eat at a donut shop. Wasn’t the whole donut-chomping cop stereotype old about 5 decades ago? These gags aren’t funny anymore, people! Here’s another wretch-inducing exchange which seems to drag on for hours:

FBI Agent: Is this room secure, captain?

Captain: Well, I get a good feeling when I come in here.

FBI Agent: No, no, I mean is it bugged?

Captain: Oh, well, of course we get the usual insects, but…

FBI Agent: NO, I mean are there any listening devices?

You get the general idea, but the real thing feels about 100 times worse.

On top of all these complaints, another definitely stands above the rest: the soundtrack stinks. The opening sequence of the movie features a turd of a song and dance number, while the initial credits are accompanied by a rap song whose sole 2-minute verse is repeated THREE TIMES.

Eventually I assumed the director was thinking, “Hey, we need a few more songs for the soundtrack. Let’s have the characters go to a punk rock concert, and then a salsa club! Am I a genius, or what?!” Oh, and the movie has this insane need to sing the phrase, “Car 54, were are you?” in this nails-on-a-chalkboard screech about once every ten minutes. Kill me!

To conclude, I would not wish this movie on my worst enemy. Everything, from the nonexistent story to the glaringly bad fashion, should be avoided at all costs. The most painful moment, however, had to be the closing credits, which keep the movie going by showing us little snippets of scenes I’m assuming were deleted in post-production. Unsurprisingly, these clips aren’t funny either.

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