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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Retro Review: Feds (1988)

Feds
1988
Cast: Rebecca De Mornay, Mary Gross, Ken Marshall, Fred Dalton Thompson, Larry Cedar
Genre: Buddy Cop Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $3 million

Plot: As a former marine, Ellie De Witt is used to pushing herself - but nothing has prepared her for the challenges of being an FBI agent. As she trains at the academy, De Witt encounters rampant sexism among her smarmy, mostly male, classmates. & whilst she's a consummate athlete, De Witt's study skills are abysmal. But with the help of book- smart trainee, Janis Zuckerman, she just might show her macho cohorts the error of their ways 




'Modest and Overlooked Female Buddy Cop Film' 

With executive producer in Ivan Reitman, going into Feds, I was not expecting a whole lot from this film and expectations were kept to a low, but also I wasn't going to expect lots of laughs and slapstick humour, breaking out every couple of mins. What I did get out of Feds, however, is a decent light female buddy cop movie that plays on the traits of the buddy cop subgenre. 

Rebecca de Mornay is yet another in the long line of ''whatever happened to her?'' actresses, who disappeared off the face of the movie world right after The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. Watching her as Ellie, she had a keen eye for comedy and she should have landed more comedy movies. Ellie De Witt is also a tough as nails FBI agent, who just got out of the army & she becomes friends with fellow agent, Zuckerman, who feels she doesn't have what it takes to become a badass. 

This movie has been compared to The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCartney, but Feds feels and comes across as a lot more earnest and relies less on crude humour than the former does. Yet just like many other buddy cop comedies, the partnership is made up of the straight, wise guy, or gal who is all serious business and one funny cop/FBI agent, who tends to be a comedian. 48 Hrs has one, so does Running Scared and The Heat. & Feds follows this same formula. The pizza eating contest scene is amusing and whilst it is not an outright comedy, as a buddy cop comedy, it is more akin to Running Scared with Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines in its tone and approach & modest laughs, or be it smiles. If anything, this is the female equivalent & with DeWitt and Zuckerman holding their own amongst the guys. 

The action is fairly standard but still good and whilst some will wish it had more comedy and needed more conflict, this is a buddy cop comedy that has heart in places. Ellie and Jannis are like buddies; they don't hate each other's guts and they learn to live side by side with each other and work together to not only bring down the bad guys (although in the end, there is no main nemesis to bring down) but to help navigate themselves through the so-called predominately male working environment. 

Feds is not so much like an out and out buddy cop action comedy film, but more of a comedy (action) film about two women who are complete contrasts to each other, but yet do not hate one another's guts, scream, shout and curse at each other and at others and go about their roles in a competitive manner to see who will come out on top. Which is refreshing to see. It treats its female characters as independent, strong-willed types yet it's not in the man-hating sense and doesn't make them out to to be too arrogant and cocky that they become difficult to take a liking to.




Final Verdict:

A clean, light-hearted female buddy cop romp - and there aren't many of these around-, which is arguably far more watchable than Paul Feig's The Heat, as it doesn't resort to over-the-top cursing and vulgar humour. And Feds wholeheartedly feels far more earnest along with its well-written script. What it lacks in hilarity, lots of action and wacky comedy, which it could have done more with, Feds compensates these things with pleasing performances by Rebecca De Mornay and Mary Gross & a frank portrayal of life as a female cop, which is also not too heavy without plumbing down to such low levels that it becomes off-putting. 

If you are on the lookout for a different type of buddy cop movie experience, Feds is that movie that deserves a chance. 


Overall:


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