FREEBIE AND THE BEAN
(director: Richard Rush; screenwriter: Robert Kaufman/based on a story by Floyd Mutrux; cinematographer: Laszlo Kovacs; editors: Frederic Steinkamp/ Michael McLean; music: Dominic Frontiere; cast: Alan Arkin (Bean), James Caan(Freebie), Valerie Harper (Bean’s Latino wife), Alex Rocco (District Attorney), Mike Kellin (Lt. Rosen), Jack Kruschen (Red Meyers), Loretta Swit (Meyer’s wife), John Garwood (Chauffeur), Paul Koslo (Whitey); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Richard Rush; Warner Brothers; 1974)
“One of those obnoxious wisecracking buddy cop movies about dimwit cops that fails to be funny.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
One of those obnoxious wisecracking buddy cop movies about dimwit cops that fails to be funny. Its strained dialogue is stupidly racist, loud and gross, and its violent scenes seem awkwardly filmed. Director Richard Rush (“Hell’s Angels on Wheels”/”Thunder Alley”), known as a cult director of exploitation films, gives it a turn-off amoral outlook. Nevertheless it has a few sight gags that are amusing, and the teaming together of Alan Arkin and James Caan is a good move. It’s based on a story by Floyd Mutrux and is written by Robert Kaufman. It’s the kind of 1970s thriller that exploits gay villains, over uses car chases and brings up police corruption (the cops are on the take) but has nothing to say about it. Bumbling San Francisco detectives, the Mexican-born Bean (Alan Arkin) and the all-American Freebie (James Caan), track down big-time numbers racket kingpin Red Meyers (Jack Kruschen) and must protect him from a mob hit during the Super Bowl weekend so a witness coming in from out of town can finger him. While on the job they total three unmarked police cars in reckless chases (in one, driving a car into a third floor apartment) and dangerously have a shoot-out in a crowded public toilet. Both the criminals and cops come off as unsympathetic figures, as Rush is clueless on how to make an action comedy. TV’s Rhoda, Valerie Harper, has a cameo as Bean’s Latino wife. Her brief scene offers the best comic moments, as hubby suspects she’s cheating on him and quizzes her about it as if she were a perp.
REVIEWED ON 7/3/2017 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/