6 May 2008 | MartinHafer
Pretty good, but a step below average for the team
The film begins with a judge (played by perennial Laurel and Hardy supporting player, James Finlayson) sentencing a mad killer to death. However, the maniac escapes and vows revenge on the judge. Wisely, the judge hires some private detectives to protect him--but unfortunately it's Stan and Ollie! They spend much of the film trying to nab the killer or running to avoid his enormous knife.
1927 was a very busy year for Laurel and Hardy--having made about a dozen films together. Up until the end of 1927, they were still not officially a team and their roles and chemistry seem very odd in these films compared to later Laurel and Hardy films. While DO DETECTIVES THINK? is much closer to the Stan and Ollie style than the previous films, the boys still aren't what many might expect. First, Stan is the smarter of the two, and second, the film is much more like a traditional slapstick film. Instead of friendship binding them, Ollie shoves and slaps Stan again and again as the film tries harder to get cheap laughs than to build chemistry. As a result, when the going gets tough, it's "every man for himself"--an attitude that you wouldn't have seen so strongly in later films. Still, it is very watchable and funny--too bad it lacks the chemistry that later made them so lovable. A good but not great early effort.