Any Which Way You Can (1980)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Comedy, Biker Film, Buddy Film  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Karl Williams

Hard as it may be to believe, this sequel and its predecessor, Every Which Way But Loose (1978), were major hits of the "good ol' boy" school of filmmaking dominated by stars Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds in the late '70s. Featuring car chases, rotund idiot cops or bikers in pursuit, some sort of goofy animal frolic, country tunes, and tee shirt-clad he-men good with their fists and CB radios but emotionally challenged by women, the type came and went (thankfully) in a flash, but wracked up some serious box-office coin. Gleefully embracing the conventions of its bizarre genre, this flimsy excuse for drunken brawling, pratfalls, and lowbrow monkey humor actually works almost as well as the film that preceded it. Director Buddy Van Horn and Eastwood don't pretend to make more of it than it is, and keep the pace taut, the jokes flying -- so that you don't notice the clunkers as much -- and wisely get scene stealer Ruth Gordon to re-up as the protagonist's salty mater. If it all seems a retread of the first flick, well, it is, but it's still funny to see an orangutan give a gang leader the finger and fun to shake your head in disbelief at the door-slamming sound effects every time Clint connects a punch to his opponent's jaw. The first film's weaknesses are all here again as well, notably Sondra Locke in an utterly pointless role as a stone-faced country singer delivering a less persuasive performance than the aforementioned primate. Strictly for fans of a strange, best-forgotten era of artistic drought in the cinema, Any Which Way You Can can nevertheless be enjoyed for its effectively stupid yuks and its status as a relic of its absurd times.