Moving Violations - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Moving Violations Reviews

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½ September 17, 2017
As far as I can tell Moving Violations holds a unique place in all of cinematic history: it's the only movie that I can think of in which not only the male and female leads, but also the primary antagonist are all played by lesser-known siblings of actors that were more popular at the time. Sure, from time to time you see a Frank Stallone or a Joey Travolta or even a Joe Estevez, but this movie has the grand slam trifecta of alternate universe casting. Our hero, Dana Cannon, is played by John Murray, younger brother of comedy god Bill, and if he wasn't directed to ape him he nevertheless does a damn good job of it; his love interest by Jennifer Tilly, whose younger sister Meg enjoyed a higher profile at the time-she was great in 'Psycho II', by the way; and the villain by James Keach, brother to Stacey Keach, who really got the short end of the stick, namewise. Inspired, or shameless? I'll leave that up to you. But if you can think of another movie that fits the same criteria, you let me know.
Moving Violations is an attempt by the creators of the Police Academy series to copy their cheapo knockoff of 'Stripes', or at least to cash in on a formula that made them a boatload of money the first time: A motely crew led by a wisecracking ne'er-do-well with a heart of gold manages to subert authority and prove their worth all at the same time. Except this time the action is transplanted from a police academy to...traffic school. I gotta say, on paper that doesn't sound half as good as it ended up being-not that it's any kind of masterwork.
The movie begins with our hero receiving the traffic violation that sends him to traffic school- from baddie Keach, natch. The picture on Murray's license is a stilll from 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom', a gag that immediately got me invested in the movie as a kid but I find is still sold well by Murray. A subsequent scene explains how overachiever Keach gets busted down to Traffic School duty on account of Murray's character, sowing the seeds for a 'Stripes'-esques dynamic between teacher and student. The two even square off in a restroom, exactly as in 'Stripes'. After that we are introduced to other supporting players via their own mishaps: Wendie Jo Sperber, Marty McFly's sis in 'Back to the Future'; '80s regular Brian Backer, best known as Ratner in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High; octegenarian Nedra Volz (from every '80s TV show you've ever seen), whose blindness is played for a running gag that surprisingly works more often than it doesn't thanks to her timing and inflection. Her introduction includes a cameo by Clara "Where's the Beef" Peller, bringing her filmography up to an improbable two. As far as I know, anyway.
The rest of the ensemble we meet once class convenes: Tilly; Fred Willard-whose role as an automotive 'doctor' provides an amusing subplot wherein hypochondriac Sperber misunderstands his occupation; Ned Eisenberg-whose best role was in Walter Hill's underrated take on 'Yojimbo', 'Last Man Standing'- as a horror movie fanatic, in a role that pre-dates Dean Cameron's similar role in 'Summer School' by two years. And some other people who never did anything else.
Various things happen: Backer trysts with an underage girl, not knowing her true age. Sperber visits Willard's automotive 'clinic'. Keach and Sally Kellerman (as a kinky judge) conspire to fail the class in order to keep their cars and sell them for their own personal gain. Murray and Tilly (the ditziest rocket scientist ever, after Denise Richards in 'The World is not Enough') get funky in a NASA zero-g chamber. Some of these things are funny and some of them aren't, but everyone is clearly giving it the old college try. One scene that has always stood out to me is one in which Murray challenges Keach to an arm-wrestling match. The cinematography, the actors, the music-hell, even the weather -it all comes together for just a couple of minutes.
In the end, our rag-tag assemblage triumph over the forces of banality and they get their licenses back. I'm sure that was almost certainly a foregone conclusion for those of you who've read this far, but I just wanted to use the phrase 'forces of banality'. Sounds like a Wall of Voodoo album or something.
So, this an un even comedy marginally brought to life by some gifted comedic actors and a guy shamelessly aping his brother's style (though he does do a damn fine job of it, even bringing some boyish exuberence to the proceedings that the elder Murray typically lacks). All sentimentality aside, I must give this movie 2.5/5 Stars.
If you do happen to see this, though, keep an eye out for the other Oscar winner in the cast: Don Cheadle, credited as 'Juicy Burger Worker'.
February 18, 2017
I had a good time watching thing and quite a few laughs. John Murray is quite good in this.
November 7, 2016
Police Academy clone, with group of misfits forced into traffic school. Many of the jokes are topical for 1985 and desperate enough to bring in Clara (Where's The Beef?) Peller for a cheap laugh. John Murray not quite on the same level as his brother Bill.
September 19, 2014
While a lot of the jokes are groan-worthy, there still are quite a few genuinely funny moments. Certainly not one of the great comedies, but still watchable.
August 1, 2014
This is basically 'Police Academy' in a driving school. Cheap gags and John Murray is Mahoney and Keach is Harris. Still good fun. Serious MILF twitch off Kellerman.
½ December 13, 2013
pointless plot, movie never really goes anywhere and the comedy is a aquired taste
December 1, 2013
This movie Moving Violations has to be the most funny film I seen. I do hope you have time to watch or see a clip on youtube about it. Very Very Kool
July 10, 2013
Decades have passed since the last time I saw Moving Violations, and this time, I watched it in my quest to find Eighties comedies that I either haven't seen in a long time, or heaven't seen at all. I remembered it being a fun movie. Is it (still) any good? Totally! It's a silly, light-hearted comedy about a bunch of people who have to go to driving school due to acquired traffic violations, lead by slacker-joker Dana Cannon, played by John Murray. Neal Israel directed it right after Bachelor Party, so the vibe is the same, and John Murray acts a bit like Tom Hanks did in Bachelor Party, but even more like his brother Bill. It's an ensemble comedy where our group of lovable misfits - consisting of such comedic clichés as a hypochondriac, half-blind granny, family man, horror enthusiast, artist and our main guy's love interest - have to pass their tests in spite of evil cops who just happen to be driving school teachers. So, it's a bit like Bachelor Party, a bit like Police Academy, it's a little comedy with a lot of heart and you can tell that the cast had fun filming this. A nice slice of the Eighties, and a fun, enjoyable ride; pun intended. One of those movies you can watch many times, ideal for lazy afternoons or a as a bedtime flick. Highly recommended for fans of the decade. Highlight: Jennifer Tilly is really cute in this one. And for movie trivia nerds, this title is full of siblings of famous actors, famous actors at the beginning of their careers, and Fred Willard.
½ March 17, 2013
I will say that it started off really great, but the final act kind of turned into an over-the-top riff on Animal House and sadly, it doesn't give very good closer to all the characters it made us love in the first place.

The cast is great. Two brothers lead this film. Stacey Keach's real life brother is the bad guy, think of Harris in Police Academy, where he's a cop, but dirty. The lead guy is Bill Murray's younger real life brother, they actually played brothers in SCROOGED. He is so funny and has that same kind of fast wit as Bill.

The rest of the cast involves a confusing Doc in Fred Willard, Marty McFly's sister as a woman that is always sick, a punk hottie(played by April from CRITTERS) and a nerd who molds himself to be with her, a guy that has seen far too many horror films and the funniest old lady I've seen in a film in a long time.

Basically it's like Police Academy 2-3 only in traffic school. Same kind of zaniness.

Oh and Sally Kellerman is great as the Judge. And look out for a bit Don Cheadle sighting.
January 14, 2013
Quite easily one of the funniest flicks to come out of the '80s, this beer and pizza crowd pleaser is notable for featuring the siblings of stars Bill Murray, Meg Tilly, and Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as marking Don Cheadle's debut.

Sure there's plot holes, but there's so much fun to be had as underachiever Dana Cannon (John Murray) falls in love with spaced-out rocket scientist Amy Hopkins (the lovely Jennifer Tilly), and leads likeable single dad Spencer (Ben Mittleman), hypercondriac Joan (scene-stealing Wendie Jo Sperber), horror buff Wink (Ned Eisenberg), loveable Loretta Houk (Nedra Volz), et. al. against corrupt authority figures Deputy Halik (James Keach) and Judge Henderson (Sally Kellerman) as the scorned stone-faced Deputy Morris (Lisa Hart Carroll) tries to keep her cool.

Lots of laugh-out-loud moments and quotable lines ("Sit down before I mould your face into an ashtray" is a personal favourite) make this a notch above most guilty pleasures.
½ November 6, 2012
Not even sure why this was ever considered funny. Rip off of the bigger movies of the time.
½ October 27, 2012
I thought this was a Police Academy rip-off at first but it was actually made by the same people who brought us Police Academy. I guess not all of Bill Murray's siblings are particularly funny.
½ October 19, 2012
the only good thing about this movie is the end of the credits and the destruction of the VHS master tape.
August 2, 2012
Moving Violations is Director Neal Isreal's least favored motion picture. However After he established his work in Hollywood with Collectively popular Police Academy prequels & sequels.
The quirky and eccentric comedy was made to rest with dust on a shelf. I really believe that when unpopular films are reviewed years later, it offers a glimpse at what was going on during that time. Kinda like a capsule.
May 16, 2012
As 80s as it can get...but not in a bad way. A few laugh out loud moments with a corny storyline make make Moving Violations a must see for 80s comedy fans. Keep an eye out for a young Don Cheadle as a drive through burger attendant.
April 25, 2012
Odd cast..everyone is related to someone more famous.
½ January 14, 2012
It must have came as a disappointment to a lot of people in the 80's when someone said that you just can't release two "Police Academy" movies in the same year. So, some genius studio head did the next best thing and greenlit "Moving Violations", pretty much a carbon copy of the long running law enforcement franchise.
There are some laughs here, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first half of the picture. It's prime 80's dumb fun, and I relished the film's complete lack of political correctness and ridiculous casting. Name another movie that would have been better suited for the film debut of Wendy's pitchman Clara Peller. And then there's star John Murray, who is obviously (painfully so) the brother of multi-talented Bill. He's not without some charm of his own, and he is quite liable throughout most of this. The problem is that he looks and sounds so much like his more famous relative that he never really gets the chance to make a name for himself. I think that, combined with the fact that this was a pretty forgettable debut feature, ensured that he would never get cast in another film. He even steals Bill's short, glib and sarcastic comic style.
The marginal fun that caught me off guard in the first half is short-lived, however, and the dumb fun I so enjoyed gives way to just plain dumb. The plot, if you're so bold to call it that, is ridiculous and the romance between Murray and Jennifer Tilly is completely unconvincing. The "lovable losers" start to wear out their welcome. "Moving Violations" makes a game attempt at being so bad that it's actually good. When the dust settles, however, it's just mediocre.
½ October 17, 2011
This is a hilarious outing that rests on the dynamic between the good guy Dana Cannon (John Murray, younger brother of Bill)and the bad guy Deputy Halik (James Keach). The antics of every other character take a a back seat to the constant showdown between these two, but they still do add to the depth of the film. Dana is a sarcastic smart mouth who gets right under the skin of anyone who doesn't like his attitude and he bears strong resemblance to Tom Hanks' character of Rick Gassko from Bachelor Party, released the year before. And while Hanks may have done a better job, Murray more than holds his own to make the film a success.

See this film.
½ May 24, 2011
Old school! Very funny!
½ April 12, 2011
I recalled this film as good fun from my teenage youth, especially remembering John Murray's performance as pretty good. Upon further review as an adult didn't fare quite as well - the movie has some fresh moments, tries hard to be loose, and commits to some big scenes pretty well. John Murray seemed less fresh and more derivative of Bill Murray than I remembered, but he was likable as was the rest of the cast. Not a bad way to kill some time without investing much brain power.
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