Rated: PG-13 For violence. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: July 23, 1993 Released by: Touchstone Pictures
Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez return as the two irreverent Seattle-based undercover cops from 1987s hit Stakeout.
Madeleine Stowe also reprises her role as Maria, Dreyfuss) and Bill Reimers (Estevez) go undercover as father and son, and District Attorney Gina Garrett, played by comedian Rosie O'Donnell (A League of Their Own) goes along posing as Chris' wife.
They're looking for a woman (Cathy Moriarty) who's the key witness in a Mafia boss trial. A mob hit man (Miguel Ferrer) bungled an attempt to kill her in Las Vegas, and she's expected to show up at her friend's out-of-the-way house in the mountains. So Chris and his ready-made family rent the house next door and set up surveillance.
They get closer to their subjects (played by Dennis Farina and Marcia Strassman) than they would like, when Gina's dog chases a stray cat onto their property. Gina invites them to dinner, which is the funniest part of the film. The word dysfunctional was made for this weird makeshift family.
Gina's totally out of her element. She's never been on a stakeout before and treats it like a vacation. Of course, since this is a comedy, everything is impossibly out-of-whack. Even Chris and Bill are inept heroes. Their one-liners and insults are thrown at each other during the most intense chase scenes.
In the first film, Emilio and Richard had a bickering friendship which is continued here, but with Rosie added to the mix, the childish pranks and carrying-on becomes annoying. Also, Chris and Maria have their own private battle, with Maria throwing his belongings around and hanging up on his phone calls.
Directed by John Badham (Wargames and Point of No Return), the violence, action and comedy doesn't blend as well as in the original, because the storyline which pieces it all together isn't as well-written. In Stakeout, the audience got to know the object of their surveillance (Stowe) and cared about her. Here, the subject is so illusive, only seen at the very beginning and end of the film, that you don't connect with her. Also, it's never explained as to thee relationship between her and the mob boss or to the people she's hiding out with.
The three leads are certainly likable, good actors and they have a fun, easy manner with one another, but I would have liked a better script with less yelling and more defined roles. Even so, it's a mildly enjoyable comedy on the basis of the actors' performances alone.