"Burt Reynolds directs and stars in this much underrated black comedy which also features Dom DeLuise, Sally Field and Carl Reiner. Reynolds plays Sony Lawson who is diagnosed as having a toxic blood disease. From this rather bleak premise stem a series of hilarious sequences, including the diagnosis itself by a very unsympathetic doctor, and Reynolds confessing his sins in church to a juvenile priest. Adamant that he'll die with dignity, Reynolds resolves not to tell his daughter, parents, girlfriend or ex-wife about his terminal illness, and he tries to cope with it himself by committing suicide. But his plan goes wrong and he finds himself in a mental hospital where he meets DeLuise (in a performance tour de force)who agrees to 'help' him. The resulting scenes of DeLuise's failed attempts to kill Reynolds are brilliantly executed moments of comedy. Tiring of these failures, Reynolds escapes from the mental hospital and again decides to do the job himself. It is really quite a shame that this film has been virtually forgotten. The concept of someone facing such monumental adversity is a universal theme, and this work is much better and more intelligent than higher-profile Burt Reynolds outings such as 'Smokey And The Bandit'. Perhaps this video release (is a UK version in the works?) and Reynolds' recent success in'Boogie Nights' will help gain this film more than just a cult following. It certainly deserves it. And there's even some atmospheric music from Frank Sinatra and Glen Campbell to enjoy too."
Swimming With The Best of Them
D.David T. | California | 06/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Burt Reynolds allows us to laugh at ourselves by our bargining skills that we have developed with God. Towards the end of the of the movie, Burt discovers that he wants to live, and thus bargins with God to let him live after attempting to drown himself by swimming out to sea. To show his sincerity to God, he dedicates at first 80 percent of his yearly earning and holding to the church. As Burt gets closer to shore and sees that in fact he will make it out alive, he lowers the percentage to a fraction of the original 80 percent earlier promised. The movie starts slow, but finishes with a punch by reminding all of us that we are not so different after all in private."
Dying is Funny
W. F. Rucker | Stone Mountain, GA United States | 07/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think this is one of Reynold's top three films. It is an hysterical movie about someone who is dying. There are numerous lines from this film that have become part of my vocabulary. Dom DeLuise jumps off the top of a building, doesn't die and says "you were right, it's not high enough". Even the music by Paul Williams is good. I don't know why this film doesn't get more word of mouth, it rates with Mel Brooks for laughs per minute. Do yourself a favor and watch it and you will want to own it."
Side-splitting hilarity abounds
actressatplay | Fayetteville, North Carolina United States | 08/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have not laughed this hard in ages. Ok the premise is that a man is dying and wants to spare his family, by killing himself. On the surface that's not funny, but this movie had me in stitches. Burt Reynolds plays bumbling very well. Joanne Woodward is a riot as the liberated ex-wife! Her scenes are not to be missed. ~ (comedy, drama, the woman is a genius!) Sally Field is neurotic and kooky. Dom Deluise is deranged. Oh boy did I have a ball. Recommended viewing for those with a twisted sense of humour."
Fun and funny and great
firstname.lastname@example.org | Malibu, USA | 09/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many great scenes and laughs in this movie, but unforgettable are Carl Reiner as Dr. Minette, Burt's ocean swim, and every second that Dom Deluise is on the screen. It's about suicide (seen through the eyes of Woody Allen and Mel Brooks, all rolled into one), but you wind up feeling great about life."