Foul Play (1978)

Foul Play (1978)

“Beware of the dwarf!”

A divorced librarian (Goldie Hawn) finds herself unwittingly caught up in a plot to assassinate the Pope.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Burgess Meredith Films
  • Dudley Moore Films
  • Goldie Hawn Films
  • Murder Mystery
  • “No One Believes Me!”
  • Romantic Comedy
  • Satires and Spoofs

This comedic thriller starts out strong, introducing characters — Goldie Hawn’s wide-eyed Gloria and Chevy Chase’s clumsy detective — who are quite appealing. Unfortunately, the plot soon devolves into slapstick, with the attempts at humor becoming increasingly lame: when Gloria visits an innocent Bible-selling midget (Billy Barty) in the hospital, for instance, we’re meant to find it amusing that she mistook him for her assassin, and to laugh at the fact that he’s now scared even to be around her.

In addition, while Hawn’s character remains appealing throughout, Chevy Chase (in his first screen role) isn’t all that funny, and, other than his initial bumbling appearance, doesn’t make much of an impression.

While there are some moments of true hilarity — whenever Dudley Moore is on the screen, for instance — Foul Play is ultimately a missed opportunity.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Goldie Hawn’s appealing performance in the lead role
  • Dudley Moore getting his bedroom ready for a presumed night of kinky sex with Hawn
  • Good use of San Francisco locales

Must See?
No. While this comedic thriller starts out strong, it quickly becomes disappointing slapstick.


One thought on “Foul Play (1978)

  1. Not a must.

    Occasionally amusing, sometimes belabored homage notable for Hawn being cute, Chase being kept on a less-annoying short leash and, most impressively, Rachel Roberts channeling Lotte Lenya in ‘From Russia With Love’.

    This kind of light entertainment has the aim of simple diversion.

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