The End (1978)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy  |   Release Date - Nov 16, 1978 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Although it isn't as well remembered as Smokey and the Bandit or The Longest Yard, this is one of Burt Reynolds' finest all-around achievements. Jerry Belson's script is a marvel of black comedy, balancing its distinctly non-PC takes on life, family, and mental health with enough unexpected moments of heart and drama to keep it from devolving into a mean-spirited rant. Reynolds lives up to the daring of this offbeat material by throwing himself into it fearlessly, making the character of Sonny charming without trying to gloss over his self-indulgent nature or quixotic tendencies. Reynolds also turns in some commendable work as a director, pacing the gags well and weaving in the dramatic moments so they add punch without becoming overdone. The End further benefits from a stellar supporting cast: Dom DeLuise is the obvious standout with his screwball turn as the mental patient who befriends Sonny, but Carl Reiner, David Steinberg, and James Best all turn in memorable performances in cameo roles. Also of note is Joanne Woodward, who takes time out from her usual dramatic fare to show a surprising skill for comedy as Sonny's bitter ex-wife. All in all, The End is a fantastic comedy that retains its satirical bite and might even appeal to viewers who don't normally go for Burt Reynolds films.