As he did in his screenplay for Silver Streak (1974), writer/director Colin Higgins mixes life-and-death melodrama with broad slapstick in Foul Play. Goldie Hawn stars as Gloria Mundy, a recent divorcée whose attempts to start life anew in San Francisco are bollixed up when she is inadvertently swept up in an assassination plot against the Pope. Offering sometimes dubious aid and comfort to Gloria is bumbling federal agent Tony Carlson (Chevy Chase). The film's comedy ranges from the farcical seduction efforts by musician Stanley Tibbets (Dudley Moore) to the zany, gag-filled car-chase finale. Foul Play features character actors Rachel Roberts and Eugene Roche as villains, Burgess Meredith as a martial arts-happy landlord, and Billy Barty as a long-suffering religious bookseller. It also packs in a memorable "throwaway" gag involving a profane Scrabble game played by sweet little old ladies Queenie Smith and Hope Summers.
by Hal Erickson synopsis