Stripes Movie Review
Cast & Crew
Director : Ivan Reitman
Starring : Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates, P.J. Soles, Sean Young, John Candy, John Larroquette, John Voldstad, John Diehl, Lance LeGault, Roberta Leighton, Conrad Dunn, Judge Reinhold, Antone Pagan,
All that was dead the moment Bill Murray threw the candy bar in the pool in Caddyshack. Critics hated Caddyshack, and called Saturday Night Live skits "mean-spirited," but for everyone else, it was finally OK to be crude, clever, offensive -- and funny. Subsequent films like Stripes, often featuring one or more cast members from SNL (Murray, et al.) or Second City TV (Harold Ramis, John Candy), set the mold. The formula hasn't needed much tweaking since then, either; the successful comedies of recent years (There's Something About Mary, American Pie, etc.) owe everything to them.
Compared to the glibness of Caddyshack or the anarchy of Animal House, Stripes may seem like something of an underachievement, but it's still a pretty funny movie. (It's a lot better than the first Murray/Ramis/Reitman collaboration, Meatballs). Lazy loser Murray can't hold down a job as a cab driver, so he and his friend (Ramis) join the Army. Their platoon is predictably full of wacky characters and their drill sergeant (Warren Oates) predictably chews Murray's butt. Then the sergeant gets wounded by friendly fire, and Murray pulls the platoon together with an appropriately stupid speech ("We're American soldiers... We're 10 and 1!"). They graduate from basic training and in a gratuitous plot turn (one of the worst third acts in movie history), they are rewarded by being shipped off to Europe to guard the Army's new "urban assault vehicle," a motor home with mounted machineguns. (Apparently screenwriter Ramis got tired of milking stock Army gags before he had filled up two hours of screen time.)
Murray's insouciant performance carries the movie and has inspired countless imitators, from the young Tom Hanks to Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell. His ever-ironic delivery made even throwaway lines ("Chicks dig me because I rarely wear underwear and when I do, it's usually something unusual.") instantly quotable. Too funny to be forgotten, Stripes is still enjoyable two decades later.
The new extended cut restores 18 minutes of deleted scenes (viewable separately, as well), including P.J. Soles' soon-to-be-famous nude scene and some truly bizarre side stories. Interviews and making-of documentaries round out the disc.
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