Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Dir: Penny Marshall, 1986

9/10

jumpin jack flash (2)

A true classic of 80’s cinema! Hilarious, engrossing, fun.

Whoopi is Terry Doolittle. A bank clerk who spends most of her working day talking to people over the computer and bootlegging the music of Bruce Springsteen.

Consistently late, she’s also tardy and mouthy. Her colleagues are very fond of her due to her carefree attitude, funny demeanour and lack of respect for authority, especially her boss, James Page.

At the end of her shift a message comes through from “Jack” telling her to be there the following night as he needs her help.

It is revealed that “Jack” is a spy for British Intelligence trapped in Europe and needs her to get him back home. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is his code name.

And, what ensues is a race against time with Terry being chased by the KGB, liaisons with other spies and the British consulate. Tony Hendra, famous for being part of the National Lampoon troupe, makes an impact as a corrupt member of the consulate.

Goldberg is enormously funny as the innocent dropped in at the deep end. Sarcastic and foulmouthed, she ejects expletives like a machine gun fires bullets. Whether it’s the police, “Jack’s” friends’ wives or her coworkers, a steady stream of sarcastic and witty lines flow freely.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash has a plethora of famous faces, from Carol Kane to James Belushi and Phil Hartman to Jon Lovitz. There are cameos from British comedienne Tracey Ullman and a small part for Annie Potts, fresh from her success as Janine Melnitz in Ghostbusters.

80’s movies are cheerful. They can be cheesy but always cheerful. It’s quite often very simple humour but it works. Jumpin’ Jack Flash is one of those movies.

Whoopi doesn’t need to make comments about being black to be funny. She naturally is. A gifted entertainer, and mistress of the wisecrack, Goldberg has this talent of flinging the ‘f’ word around and causing hilarity.

Jonathan Pryce as the elusive “Jack” is woefully miscast. We’re supposed to be taken in that he’s a suave, James Bond type character. In reality, he’s a bit of a wet lettuce. Not particularly handsome and rather scrawny.

A little outdated, but then, thirty years has passed so they can be forgiven. The comedy is what makes it.

A very funny, spy comedy/thriller typical of the 80’s that provides non stop enjoyment for its 100 minutes running time.

Give it a go. You won’t be disappointed.

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