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Blake Edwards's racetrack comedy—about a pair of penny-ante horse players (Ted Danson and Howie Mandel) being chased incessantly and forever around Los Angeles (redundant I know, but so is the movie)—isn't nearly the classic it aspires to be, though it's not for want of trying. Nothing quite works as it should: the rhythms are subtly off, the pace is forced, the comedy overextended . . . and the surfeit of hommages—to the Keystone Kops and Laurel and Hardy and Jerry Lewis and all and sundry—threatens to sink it before it gets out of the starting gate. But there's something to be said for Edwards's insatiable overreaching, and at times the orchestration of pratfalls and comic pairings could hardly be more deft. It's also nice to see a professional talent at work (more throwback than original: Edwards is the quintessential 60s studio survivor) and an 80s film with screenplay texture and body, but somebody somewhere should have put the bridle and bit to Edwards's auteurist straining. With Richard Mulligan, Paul Sorvino, Stuart Margolin, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Jennifer Edwards; music by the inevitable Henry Mancini.

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