The comedian Robert Wuhl once did a very funny stand-up bit where he lauded Burt Reynolds as a talented guy who happened to have made a lot of bad movies, then proceeded to count the "good" movies on one hand and then list the "bad" ones on both hands and feet. Maybe that's a little unfair, especially considering the mini-renaissance Reynolds has enjoyed over the last few years, but Hooper is a film that falls into the stereotypical Burt Reynolds mold, namely that it features a lot of cars, explosions, stunts, and general juvenile buffoonery. A re-teaming of Reynolds with his Smokey and the Bandit team of Sally Field and director Hal Needham, it's the story of an aging stunt man who must cope with both a younger rival and his own body's limitations. It's interesting for its look inside the world of the Hollywood stuntman, but overall it lacks any kind of cohesiveness. Field is completely wasted, although she had yet to become a top-tier Academy-recognized actress at this point, and the excellent Brian Keith also seems to just be filling space here. Jan-Michael Vincent is very good as the younger stuntman and the film does manage to involve some drama along with it's good ol' boy antics, but unfortunately it appeals only to those who would be impressed with a film on that level, namely kids and die-hard Burt Reynolds fans. The only truly memorable performance is turned in by Robert Klein as the movie-within-the-movie's dictatorial director.
by Dan Friedman review