Never mind the remake, this is the real deal, a formula comedy raised to heights of hilarity by the kind of off-beam lunacy which probably wouldn't get past the studio suits these days. Bergman's screenplay melds odd-couple and fish-out-of-water templates, as their children's forthcoming wedding brings together maverick undercover operative Falk and fastidious New York dentist Arkin, pitching both into potentially lethal circumstances as the CIA man plans to sell US Treasury printing plates to a dubious Central American republic. Falk's unflappable whimsicality is put to excellent use, Arkin commands sundry shades of blind panic, and if the car chases sustain the widely held belief that Arthur Hiller could not direct traffic, the script's out-of-nowhere zingers are wonderful. We won't spoil the fun but look out for the tin-pot dictator's little 'friend', and chuckle for days afterwards at the hitherto unsuspected comic fecundity of the word 'serpentine'.
Cast and crew
Ed Begley Jr