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Smokey and the Bandit Reviews

The first in the series and the best of a lousy lot. Depending on whom you believe, the movie grossed anywhere between $40 million and $70 million; that must be some sort of new record for fooling the public. It was the first picture directed by Needham, one of the highest-paid stuntmen in movies, and is one long, stupid car chase punctuated by four-letter words in a live-action version of the "Roadrunner" cartoons. The plot is premised on the fact that it once was illegal for Coors to sell their Colorado beer east of Texas unless a special permit was secured. McCormick and Williams play a father-son team of filthy-rich Texans who have a car entered in an Atlanta stock race, which they fully expect to win. In order to celebrate, they'd like to have enough Coors around for themselves and their guests, but the race is the following day and there doesn't seem to be any means to get the beer there in time. Reynolds makes an $80,000 wager that he can drive to Texas and back in the needed 28 hours, and the obligatory chases and stunts ensue. The stunts in SMOKEY are excellent but the comedy is numbing, and the acting is on a par with a junior high school production of Our Town. Even Gleason comes across badly, and that's a major feat. Adolph Coors and Sons must have been very happy to have a 97-minute commercial for their brew.