Picks and Pans Review: Smokey and the Bandit Part Iii

updated 10/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

It's sad to see an entertainer of the quality of Jackie Gleason in an exploitive, boring film like this one. The first two movies in this series will never be mistaken for Hamlet but at least had some virtues: Burt Reynolds' charm and wit and the flashy car chases of director Hal Needham. This bottom of the rain barrel enterprise, directed by Dick (TV's The Gambler) Lowry, has only Gleason, glumly reprising his role as the Southern sheriff with an accent that sounds like a cross between Brooklyn, Atlanta and someplace incomprehensible—Bulgaria, maybe. The jokes are a succession of smarmy references to genitals, body wastes and sex. The film's only hint of vitality is Jerry Reed, also an alum of the earlier Smokeys, who gets to drive the Banditmobile and be more or less a hero. Colleen (They All Laughed) Camp reads her leaden lines with the animation of a zombie; Mike Henry, as Gleason's dim-witted son, is about as funny as a turnip; comedian Pat McCormick and singer Paul Williams, as a long-short father-and-son team who lure Gleason out of retirement for a cross-country race, just look foolish. The road scenes are routine. Even the vehicles aren't appealing. In the name of decency, spare us another Smokey. (PG)

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