Continental Review Short Review (1981)

I think this was the lone John Belushi film that I haven’t seen until now. For some reason I had always thought that this was a drama. Maybe that’s why I stayed away from it for so long.

It’s not, though. It’s a comedy. John Belushi’s normal style of slapstick is absent from it, though. Belushi was trying to be taken more seriously as an actor I guess. He does a decent job portraying a Chicago reporter who journeys into the Rocky Mountains to do a story on a woman who’s lived in the wilderness studying eagles for years. It’s a fish out of water story with slightly romantic angle.  There aren’t many twists and turns, but its hard to not like Belushi. He loses his typical mannerisms (like the raised eyebrow), but it’s still Belushi and the character has some similarities to the one he played in neighbors.

Blair Brown is also likable as the outdoors woman and the polar opposite of Belushi’s newspaper man. I don’t think she fully embraced the antisocial nature of the character, though. At times I thought she was too friendly (and out of character), but that’s a weakness of the writing/directing. Not her fault. What the story lacks in onscreen happenings, it does make up for in friendliness. Even the animal predators in the wilderness are non threatening. Needless to say, the film lacks tension.

What I found most interesting about Continental Divide was the general similarity to Crocodile Dundee (or Dundee’s similarity to Continental Divide… whatever). The journalist that ventures into the wilderness. They may fall in love. They’re each bound to their own element that will keep them apart… Or will it?

There isn’t much objectionable in the film anyway, but for some reason this has been dumbed down a bit. I seem to have remembered this as rated R for some reason, but I may be mistaken. They changed the language though, in some instances to get it to a PG rating. Its OBVIOUS at times that they didn’t even try to match the words to the moving lips. That’s not a story killer, however.

It’s certainly not a great film, but it did manage to entertain me, especially being a fan of Belushi. It’s a passable light romantic comedy as long as you don’t expect too much. It does have some decent cinematography even if there’s not much of an attempt by the director to do anything with a whole lot of  artistic merit. The shots of the Rockies sell themselves. Director Michael Apted is probably more suited to making documentaries, anyway.

3.5 of 5 whatevers.


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