On the East Coast, an array of oddballs and high-performance cars convene for the start of a Cannonball Run cross-country to California. The race is threatened when the megalomanic head of the Fraternal Order of Police Chiefs (Peter Boyle) rounds up all the professional drivers slated for the run, but, with promotional dollars at stake, the hasty devising of unlikely rookie driving teams puts the race back on track. Paired are John Candy and Donna Dixon, Joe Flaherty and Matt Frewer, Shari Belafonte and Melody Anderson, Art Hindle and Brian George, Tim Matheson and Mimi Kuzyk, and the Smothers Brothers, and most of the suspense is derived from the dirty tricks employed by these ragtag racers against their competitors--which, along with the bickering between the driving duos, contribute to the leap-frog changes in the lead. Sustaining the comic action to its anticlimactic finish are a series of campy celebrity cameos. Several shopworn formulas have gone into the premise, writing, acting, and directing of SPEED ZONE, and despite its comically well endowed cast, the gags are disappointingly dull. The filmmakers rely heavily on the star personae and familiar TV incarnations of their actors, while showcasing the spills and thrills (and ubiquitous product plugs) to provide transitions between the sputtering jokes.