Recently I watched Eddie Murphy’s classic comedy Coming to America and really enjoyed it. It was genuinely funny and had a sweet romance to it. Naturally when looking at another one of his classics, Beverly Hills Cop, I wasn’t expecting a romance but I did expect it to be funny. Now I have seen it and…I didn’t laugh. Maybe I’m missing something but it seemed like an ordinary police procedural?
The film definitely earns its R rating with language and some strong violence for a comedy but the story is pretty bland. Murphy plays a Axel Foley a Detroit cop who travels to Beverly Hills to try and look into the murder of his friend shown at the beginning of the film. While there he meets various local cops including detectives Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Aston).
The case involves a drug ring led by villain Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff). It was all extremely obvious and by the numbers. What surprised me was how serious the movie took itself? I was expecting to laugh more and the jokes were hardly there. I guess something like Foley putting bananas in the officers car tailpipe is funny? I’m not sure why but they referred to that incident several times as a sign of Foley’s wild ways. Huh?
I guess you can enjoy it as a cop procedural and there is some chemistry between Murphy, Reinhold and Ashton but if that’s the strength of the movie I wish they’d given them a more interesting case. Maybe they do in the sequels?
A lot of 80s comedies fall flat but this one didn’t even seem to be making jokes so I evidently am missing something? It felt long and was under 2 hours. It just did nothing for me.
4 out of 10
11 thoughts on “Blind Spot 66: Beverly Hills Cop”
You aren’t the only person to have this perspective on the movie. Siskel and Ebert basically said the same thing when it came out and gave it Two Thumbs Down. Ebert actually said in his review, “But wait a minute. What’s this movie about, anyway? Is it a comedy or an action picture?”
I’m basically split. I watched this in my apartment last year twice during the pandemic lockdown after buying it at the local Walmart, and I did enjoy it. But I agree that I did not laugh that much, and I think that’s because (like Bringing Up Baby) the film is mostly made up of situational humor. I enjoyed it as a “fun ride”, though, and I think the appeal to it is Eddie Murphy’s likable street-smart persona. It’s a movie that is easy to enjoy as a standard cop film infused with an atypical main character. Fletch may have done this better the following year, but Ebert complained that it was impossible to relate to Fletch because he never took any situation as seriously as the audience did and Chevy Chase seemed to be interested in playing himself. Eddie Murphy does a good job rectifying that here; he’s basically playing his typical smart-ass character, but he also reacts to situations like being arrested for being thrown through a glass window the way a real person would (though a real person would probably suffer from internal bleeding, be barely conscious, and need to be taken to a hospital to safely remove the glass shards).
So yeah, not many laughs, but still entertaining and well-written enough for me to enjoy watching it. A bit disappointing for what it could have been, but since it never takes itself too seriously, I’m willing to appreciate it as mindless 80s entertainment.
A side note: I find it amusing James Russo, who plays Eddie Murphy’s friend who gets killed here, also played the second player to be killed in Django Unchained almost 30 years later.
I guess I was expecting something more manic but to me it did take itself very seriously.
I don’t know, the story itself is straightforward but things like Axel jamming the bananas in the cops’ tailpipe, taking the cops to a strip club and getting mad at them for not lying about it, and even the minor interplay among the cops about red meat being bad for you made it clear that the movie is just mindless “turn-your-brain-off-and-relax” 80s fluff.
Hmm. None of that was funny to me so I was just bored waiting for the case to progress
I think there are plenty of silly, lighthearted scenes all the way through, like the banana in the tailpipe scene, or Axel taking the cops to a strip club and getting mad at them for not lying about it, or even just the cops’ minor interplay between each other in the car. It’s not a movie you laugh hard at, but you don’t really need to. Those bits make it clear that it’s just “turn-your-brain-off-and-relax” 80s fluff,
I found the script to be quite pedestrian and dull tbh 🤷♀️
I know. That’s basically what Siskel and Ebert said during their review, that they could write better material for the movie to use, but the point is it doesn’t need to be that funny or well-written because it’s like Pillow Talk. It lets you know right from the beginning that it’s just mindless fluff you can just turn your brain off and enjoy it. I think what saves it is that the characters have more life than the average ones in films like this. This may be due to the performances by the actors, though. But it was something I always wished was better than it was.
I love Pillow Talk. I didnt see it as the mindless escapism type movie. It was just bland imo. Anyway obviously I’m in the minority on this one. I just didn’t get it
I would recommend Coming to America far ahead of this
* Correction: Second slave owner.
I haven’t seen Coming to America. My dad watched it in the theater with a friend when he was 17, though, and he said he had no interest in watching it again because he was more interested in watching newer comedies or older ones he hadn’t seen before. Still I guess it obviously left an impact….