Thursday, December 19, 2013

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! KID STUFF aka CONVOY BUDDIES starring Michael Coby and Paul L. Smith (1976)

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery let's just say that PLANET PATROL really must have pleased Gerry Anderson to no end. Or something like that. Anyway if you're a sucker for cheap imitations of things that were imitations to begin with you'll really like this piece of cinematic whatziz.

Considering just how boffo the Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer mooms were doing at the time it would figure that someone over in Italy would have come up with a cheap knockoff, this time with local talent Michael Coby being teamed up with Amerigan expat (and soon to return to the US to play Bluto in Altman's POPEYE) Paul L. Smith playing the Hill and Spencer roles respectively. And as you'd guess the people in front of and behind the cameras really got the original schtick down pat, for this one really comes off as much a carbon of the original what with the outlandish plots, Hope and Crosby teamwork, Europeon scenery, car crashes and (best of all) fist fights just when you want a li'l action! Had I seen these films when I was five I sure woulda been confusing my Cobys, Smiths, Hills and Spencers the same way I used to get Peter and Gordon and Chad and Jeremy all mixed up in some weird wind tunnel of mop tops and horn rimmed glasses.

In this 'un Coby and Smith play some Eyetalian neer-do-wells who get a job trucking a load of insecticide to France, only they're actually smuggling in guns. After some mobsters high-lariously fail to hijack the shipment they make their way to Marseilles and get to meet up with the craftoid brains behind the operation. Of course in between there are a whole lotta funtime violence bound to keep your attention span chugging along nicely as the plot and tension build then release with that proper does of comedy relief.

Can't complain one bit, since the story, acting and general development play like a good seventies zilch-rater...y'know, the kinda films that everybody thought were so bad that even the dorks who wrote capsule reviews for the local papers couldn't help but comment how artless they were. Fodder for Siskel and Ebert to snicker over at the end of their show while praising the latest big-time hype that used to get all of the iron-haired gals sniffling hankies fulla snot. And yeah, probably me 'n Bill Shute (the guy who pony expressed this one my way) are the only fellows on the face of this earth who'd nowadays admit to liking supposedly slop cinema like this, but I sure get the idea that this 'un holds up way better'n any of those major moolah extravaganzas of them days ever will. I mean, KID STUFF versus BARRY LYNDON...the choice is up to you (never let a good cliche go to waste I always say!).

The ending clip hypes the followup Coby/Smith feature entitled THE DIAMOND PEDDLERS, a true blue Hill and Spencer swipe that I just might blab about in a future post. Stay attuned.

1 comment:

Bill S. said...

An interesting footnote about this film...a few weeks after I watched this again (and made you a copy), I had the opportunity to see the comedic 1973 Italian crime film MEAN FRANK AND CRAZY TONY (starring Lee Van Cleef and Tony Lo Bianco) at a theater in Austin (I had not seen it for ages). Imagine my surprise when I see that the details of the "trucking comedy" aspects of KID STUFF were borrowed wholesale from that film (which was made a few years earlier--the same setups, the same situations, the same routines--the only difference being that the "trucking" part of the MEAN FRANK film was only a part of it in the second half). As KID STUFF was fresh in my mind, the borrowing was totally clear. Even the bit about the bad guys' car getting cut in half and then trying to drive it with the front two wheels only. So this film is not just an imitation, but an imitation with borrowed elements! The late Paul L. Smith was a fascinating man, by the way. Although he was American (from Massachusetts, I believe), he fought as a member of the Israeli army in the Six Day War and eventually retired to Israel. If you ever get the chance to see him in SONNY BOY with David Carradine, go for it. There is a long interview with him (shot in his apartment in Israel) on the Grindhouse DVD of PIECES, where he tells his fascinating life story. By the way, there were FIVE of these Smith-Coby films made. I, alas, have only two...