Spies Like Us (1985)


Directed by John Landis

Written by Dan Aykroyd, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel

Starring Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd

Tagline: With spies like these, who needs enemies?

Trivia: Several directors make cameo appearances including Terry Gilliam, Sam Raimi, Joel Coen, amd Martin Brest.

Spies Like Us is a late Cold War comedy from 1985 that’s a pleasant enough way to pass 90 minutes. Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd star as clueless government workers assigned to a top secret mission behind the Iron Curtain.  Film fans will enjoy the cameos from a collage of directors.

The gags generally fall flat. For example, Chase and Aykroyd are required to take a foreign service exam and they make pathetic attempts to cheat, with Frank Oz playing the proctor.

Once on their mission they arrive at a refugee hospital somewhere in Afghanistan and pretend they are doctors. In a laborious sequence they must perform surgery, but are saved when the patient dies? But not before Bob Hope makes a cameo.  It all feels like a tedious SNL skit.

Eventually the “agents” end up in the Soviet Union at an ICBM complex and more hi-jinks ensue. The final 15 minutes are Landis’s awkward attempts to emulate Dr. Strangelove and the James Bond movies.

In their final TV interview John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd spoke of a film they were writing about defense contractors.  Louis Malle was set to direct. I suspect the project morphed into Spies Like Us in the aftermath of Belushi’s demise.

Landis had made a string of classic irreverent comedies like The Kentucky Fried Movie, Animal House, and Trading Places, but Spies Like Us feels a bit long in the tooth.

If you would rather not revisit Spies Like Us, at least check out the video featuring Paul McCartney’s goofy theme song.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s