W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975)

Genres - Comedy, Crime, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Release Date - May 21, 1975 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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This charming little comedy doesn't often come up in discussions of Burt Reynolds' films but it's one of the true hidden gems in his filmography. The script takes a pleasant, low-key approach to its premise that places more importance on characterization than on car crashes or bawdy gags. It has charm to spare, a characteristic that really comes across on screen thanks to excellent performances. Reynolds excels as the charming ne'er do well that drives the story, using his natural charisma to make his con-man character convincing but also providing flashes of deeper emotion that hint at the hurt and disappointment hidden beneath his care-free surface. His work benefits from excellent support from Connie Van Dyke as the sweet-natured but quietly tough singer that Reynolds takes a shine to and Ned Beatty as a veteran performer who is a business-minded sharpie under his homespun public persona. Also worthy of note are Art Carney as the pious lawman chasing the hero and Jerry Reed, who provides many a witty quip as a band member. Behind the camera, John Avildsen gives W.W. And The Dixie Dancekings a punchy, engaging feel through confident pacing and an accent on snappy editing (note the many inventive "wipe" optical effects used to connect scenes). The end result is a worthwhile sleeper that also happens to be a must for Burt Reynolds fans.