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All They Wanted Was A Little Getaway. All They Got Was... Nothing But Trouble.—Tagline
A 1991 comedy film written & directed by Dan Aykroyd. It stars Chevy Chase, Aykroyd, John Candy (in a dual role), and Demi Moore in one of her first post-Brat Pack films.
Chase plays Christopher Thorne, an investment banker with his own newsletter. At a party, he meets financial lawyer Diane Lightson (Moore) who he offers to drive to Atlantic City for an important meeting. Tagging along are two of Christopher's wealthiest clients, eccentric Brazillian siblings Fausto & Renalda. At their insistence, Chris takes the "scenic" route through the country. While passing through the remote village of Valkenvania, Chris fails to make a complete stop at a stopsign, which draws the attention of local deputy Dennis Valkenheiser (Candy). Rather than pulling over, Chris attempts to show off his BMW for Diane by attempting to evade Dennis. However, Dennis' cruiser is heavily modified, and along with his cousin Purdah (a fellow Deputy) is easily able to corner the group with the aide of some rather bizarre traps. They are hauled off to a decrepit mansion/scrap yard where they are brought before the local Justice of the Peace, the 106-year-old Shire Reeve Alvin Valkenheiser. As it turns out, the JP's policy is to punish all offenders to the fullest extent of the law, and holds an exceptional grudge against all "bankers". However, Diane is able to sweet-talk the Judge, who decides to suspend sentencing.
Later that evening, Dennis pulls over another car, this one full of drunken, drug-using yuppies (led by Daniel Baldwin!). Unlike the previous group, they are less than gracious to their host, who immediately sentences them to death. In this case, the death penalty is a roller coaster ride that deposits its victims in a giant contraption called "Mister Bonestripper", which leaves criminals Stripped to the Bone.
Over dinner, the Judge explains how 100 years ago, his family was convinced into investing everything they had into coal, at around the same time that oil became the dominant fuel source of the world. For this, he vows to always throw the book at a "banker" (which appears to be an umbrella term for anyone that has more money than he does). We are also introduced to his other granddaughter, Dennis' sister Eldona (Candy in drag). When it becomes apparent that the Judge has no intention of letting them go, the group attempts to escape. Fausto & Renalda leap out the window and attempt to make a run for it, while Chris & Diane are quickly captured by Eldona. Fausto & Renalda make it to a moat full of filthy water than they have no choice but to cross. They are successful, but unfortunately Dennis is waiting for them on the other side. Throughout the night, it has become apparent that Dennis doesn't approve of his grandfather's policies, and decides to help them escape. Before leaving, he unlocks the room that Chris & Dianne are being held in, leaving them to escape on their own. Exploring the house, they discover evidence of other victims of the Judge's style of justice, spanning the past century. When they are unintentionally split up, Chris is recaptured by Eldona, who has taken a fancy to him. The Judge tells Chris that if he's willing to marry Eldona, he'll grant him a pardon.
Later that night, Purdah brings in a fresh batch of speeders -- the hip-hop group Digital Underground. After giving an improptu performance, the Judge decides that, due to their contributions to society through the performing arts, all charges against them are dropped. He asks them to perform the wedding hymm, but Chris makes another attempt to escape. With Eldona's heartbroken, the Judge sentences Chris to "Mister Bonestripper." However, the machine breaks just as he is about to be fed into it, allowing him to make a run for it. Holding Diane prisoner, the Judge threatens to have her chopped in half (using a guillotine made from a bulldozer blade). But if Chris is willing to take her place, she will be free to go. Chris uses an old oil barrell to cause a diversion, allowing him to rescue Diane and escape on a train.
When they finally make it to Atlantic City, they tell the State Police everything, who (incredibly) believe them, and ask them to take them to Valkenvania. However, as it turns out, the Police are well aware of the Judge's activities, approving of the way he gets the job done. But just before Chris & Dianne are silenced, one of the many abandoned mine shafts beneath the mansion explodes, destroying the village. In the epilogue, Dennis is now living in Brazil, as Fausto's chief of security, and Renalda's lover. Chris & Dianne return to Manhattan, but a news report on the disaster reveals that the JP has survived the explosion, and he still has Chris' driver's license. With his home destroyed, surely his "grandson-in-law" won't mind him paying a visit!
This film contains the examples of:
- Acting for Two: Dan Aykroyd plays both Valkenheiser and Bobo
- Also John Candy as Dennis and Eldona.
- Artificial Limbs: The JP has a wooden leg, the result of World War I.
- Asshole Victims: The second batch of perps Dennis hauls in are a bunch of drug-addled yuppies who fully expect to be able to buy their way out of trouble. Not a chance in hell.
- Bloodless Carnage: The "Bonestripper" lives up to its name; the bones that fly out are completely clean, and not a drop of blood is ever seen the entire movie.
- Breakaway Pop Hit: Digital Underground's "Same Song". The movie was panned by critics and was a box office flop, but the song was a hit.
- Corrupt Hick: Judge Alvin Valkenheiser — and how!
- Defensive Feint Trap: When one of the drug dealers threat Dennis with a gun, he fakes distress before producing a Walther MPL.
- Efficient Displacement
- Freud Was Right: Yes, Valkenheiser's artificial nose does look like a tip of a penis.
- Gratuitous Rap: Digital Underground's appearance in the middle of the movie.
- The Grotesque: Bobo and Lil' Debbul, two extremely fat men wearing diapers.
- Hanging Judge: JP Alvin Valkenheiser
- Kangaroo Court: God help you if you're a banker...
- Mickey Mousing: The bones that come out of Mr. Bonestripper make pinball-sounds when they hit the target sign nearby.
- One-Scene Wonder: Digital Underground's appearance is the most popular scene in the movie. "Same Song" reappears during the end credits, and Aykroyd directed the music video for this song, which featured clips from this film.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain: Surprisingly averted.
- Right Behind Me: Says Humpty-Hump about Purdah -- "Man, she is one nasty-ass, cross-burning, pecker-wood, redneck bitch!" Subverted in that when she turns around, she's not the least bit bothered.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Chris' reaction to the JP's plan to visit his "grandson-in-law" right at the ending.
- Stripped to the Bone: Mister Bonestripper.
- Sword Cane: The JP duels with Chris, who wields a femur.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Valkenvania
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Once while riding his motorcycle through the country, Dan Aykroyd was pulled over by a local cop, who hauled him into the Justice of the Peace's courthouse in the middle of the night for sentencing.
- Also, the mostly-abandoned New England town with coal fires burning beneath it for a century - though Centralia, Pennsylvania, has only been burning for fifty years as of 2012.
- The Voiceless: Eldona
- Wrench Wench: Again, Eldona.
- ↑ Old Englishe word for "Sherriff"