Stakeout (1987)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Stakeout</strong> (1987)

(In French, On Cable TV, January 2019) Here’s a hypothetical situation to test your skills at being a Hollywood producer. It’s not a hard one. Here you have a pair of actors starring in your movie as stakeout cops: Emilio Estevez (aged 25) and Richard Dreyfus (aged 40). You also have the rather sexy Madeline Stowe (aged 29) playing a woman who’s being watched by our heroes. Naturally, there’s going to be a romance—that’s a given, not to be put in doubt. The question is this: Would you rather pair up Stowe with Estevez (four years her junior) or with Dreyfus (eleven years her elder)? Take your time. Don’t cheat. There’s only one answer. But of course, this is Hollywood and at the time Dreyfus was the biggest actor, so naturally we have a May-July romance going on. So it goes in an industry controlled by older men. Bad casting aside, Stakeout is merely a decent film. Veteran director John Badham’s attempt to combine comedy and action thrills is intermittently successful, although the film is more effective in its action moments that the often-juvenile comedy. The soundtrack is very eighties, but then so is much of the film as a buddy cop movie. There are a number of ethical issues raised by Stakeout’s romance (the word “stalking” is never mentioned, although it should be), but like most police movies of the time it’s far more interested in designating its heroes as beyond reproach than actually exploring those issues. Stakeout remains an entertaining film, but it does have a number of issues that may cause more discomfort than fun.

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