PG, 114 min.
Director: James Fargo
Writer: Jeremy Joe Kronsburg
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Geoffrey Lewis, Sondra Locke, Beverly D’Angelo, Ruth Gordon, Roy Jenson, James McEachin, Bill McKinney, William O’Connell, John Quade, Dan Vadis, Gregory Walcott, Hank Worden, Walter Barnes, George Chandler, Manis the Orangutan
My Dad has been gone for over two years now, and I keep on running into movies that he gave to me. “Every Which Way But Loose” was the rare comedy from Clint Eastwood, but it was a comedy done only as Eastwood would do one. It’s laid back, spontaneous, populated by simple (but intelligent) blue collar characters, who have a basic morality and a near naiveté about the world in which they live. This one also happens to have an orangutan as one of the main characters.
This comedy sneaks up on you. It’s a little bit country and a little bit comedy and a little bit conservative and a little bit progressive. It’s also evolves into something more funny than it seems at first. It’s not just a movie about a guy with an ape. For one thing, all the protagonists are given equal time. Yes, Eastwood is the main character, and the story follows his pursuit of the burgeoning singer/con artist played by Sondra Locke; but his mother, played by Ruth Gordon, has her own storyline about trying to reinstate her driver’s license. His brother, played by longtime collaborator Geoffrey Lewis, also gets his own romance with the extremely likeable and funny Beverly D’Angelo.
Eastwood’s truck driver/street fighter Philo Beddoe gathers a collection of enemies in his pursuit of the less than desirable trickster played by Locke, which sets the stage for a series of one-upmanship vignettes that has him taking on other street fighters, two off-duty cops and a motorcycle gang. Gordon’s best scene is when she takes on the gang from her porch with a giant shotgun.