The 1980s were a decade filled with cheesy horror films, outrageous teen comedies, and the so-called “Brat Pack.” Moving Violations involved none of those. Moving Violations was very much in the vein of Police Academy, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since those responsible for that screwball comedy were also responsible for this one.
Several drivers have their cars impounded and licenses revoked in a variety of humorous ways. In order to get their cars and licenses back they must complete traffic school. The catch: The guy teaching the class is a disgruntled cop with a beef against one of the students and a plan to bilk the city of half the proceeds from the sale of the seized cars.
Right off I’ll tell you this isn’t the most intelligent comedy you will ever encounter. The humor lies in the realm of absurdity and, if you’re not in the mood to just sit back and laugh, you may find yourself disliking it altogether. But you shouldn’t, and here’s why.
John Murray, lesser-known brother of Bill Murray, is the lead in this movie and, quite frankly, the casting is inspired. I’d never seen him in anything before, so I didn’t know what to expect from him. In a way he reminds me of Bill, but at the same time he has his own charm. He had many hilarious lines in this movie and the delivery was spot-on. Makes me sad to think we really haven’t seen much of him elsewhere.
I would have to say my favorite character in this movie is Mrs. Houk, played by Nedra Volz. She’s the typical sweet little old lady with a vision problem. Nobody should even be contemplating returning her license. Yet there she is, blissfully unaware of what is going on around her because she just can’t see it. This could very well descend into the lost land of corny cliché but manages to keep itself on the road to hilarity. Mrs. Houk truly steals the show.
Other characters include a puppeteer who’s stage trailer caused a bit of a ruckus at what one can only assume is a mob funeral, a rocket scientist more out there than a rocket to the moon, a man obsessed with blood and horror movies, and a few others that can’t seem to drive between the lines.
Features on this disc are slim, but I’m sure that’s in no small part a result of this movie being originally released in 1985 and also a lesser-known film. It has the theatrical trailer, is presented in widescreen format, and actually has both Dolby 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 surround sound. It also comes with “The Official Moving Violations Handbook”, a humorous insert with pictures from the movie and ridiculously obvious rules that are actually printed in driver’s manuals throughout the United States.
Verdict: A. I can’t give this movie anything less. Every single time I watch I find myself laughing at the same jokes over and over again. It never gets old. And for what this movie is – a screwball comedy that doesn’t take itself seriously at all – I’d say it’s at the top of its game.