Every Which Way but Loose

Clint Eastwood plays it safe in his first full-fledged comedy (1978, 114 min.), swiping most of the essentials from the Burt Reynolds formula and taking fewer laugh lines than he did as Dirty Harry. Ruth Gordon and an orangutan are on hand to provide insurance when the script fails (as it frequently does). From any considered point of view, it stinks, but I still liked it: Eastwood has the best double take in the business, there are some interesting glimpses of blue-collar LA, and the downbeat ending displays a genuine moral intelligence. James Fargo, the least of Eastwood's regular collaborators, directed this one: his framing is clean and accurate, but he has no timing.

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