21 May 2004 | chrisdfilm
More on target than you'd expect
It seems like everyone's opinion on this movie is evenly divided. People either love it or hate it. Personally, I am not a Chevy Chase fan by any stretch of the imagination. But I like many of William Friedkin's films so I wanted to give this a chance and went in without too many preconceptions.
It obviously can't stand up to a comparison to DR. STRANGELOVE as a few here have done. However, it still remains a fairly on-target, unflattering satire of the weapons industry and by extrapolation, other mass production industries that love to sell the government and public crap product cosmetically hyped as the next great answer to all their fears and desires, product that ends up being useless or obsolete within a year (if it even works properly in the first place). There are some pretty funny scenes sprinkled throughout and I was pleasantly surprised through the whole film how much dark, subversively funny jabs Friedkin gets away with. Especially in a big studio movie.
There's one scene in particular that makes the film well worth seeing --Gregory Hines (I believe it was him) gets into a verbal altercation with another extremely hotheaded driver (a maniacal Tony Plana) (over a fender bender? it's been a while since I've seen it) -- the verbal sparring quickly escalates into a life-threatening situation and the emotional dynamics the two actors bring to the scene is scarily believable while remaining extremely funny. This scene alone provides a microcosmic metaphor for the provocations of nations going to war and perfectly illustrates the pointless absurdity of aggressive behaviour in general. Also of note, it's great to see the underrated Vince Edwards in a large supporting role as the ruthless air weapons manufacturer.
DEAL OF THE CENTURY is never less than amusing and has some extremely funny sequences -- much better than many of these IMDb reviews would lead you to believe.