Licence to Thrill – Rediscovering ‘My Chauffeur’ (US 1986 – 97 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - October 31, 2017
Licence to Thrill – Rediscovering ‘My Chauffeur’ (US 1986 – 97 mins)

A patchy, though likable romantic comedy, ‘My Chauffeur’ has aquired quite a cult following. This, I think, is due mainly to the enthusiastic performance from its wonderfully energetic lead; Deborah Foreman, whose star should have burned longer than it did.

When happy-go-lucky dishwasher Casey Meadows (Deborah Foreman) receives a job offer as a chauffeur for a luxury Limousine Service, the all male staff are suitably shocked. It doesn’t take long however before her cheerful presence wins over the other drivers, much to the annoyance of the company manager, Charles McBride (Howard Hesseman), whose assignments to Casey are given in the hope that she either quits or is fired.

Though it’s often too silly and not as funny as its reputation, ‘My Chauffeur’ is an easy watch and very likeable, featuring an engaging performance by the gorgeous Deborah Foreman, who I also loved in the same years twisty sleeper ‘April Fools Day’. Sam ‘Flash Gordon’ Jones turns up as an arrogant executive and Foreman’s love interest, though I did find his sometimes over-the-top performance rather embarrassing. What lifts the movie for me are the supporting turns by a roster of old-timers, including E.G. Marshall as the company’s owner, and Julius Harris and Sean McClory as a couple of kind-hearted colleagues. Future stars Penn & Teller also feature in a lengthy ‘adult’ segment, which didn’t actually work for me.

This movie has always reminded me of the less well-known (though for me, funnier) 80’s comedy ‘Maid to Order’ (’87), which has Ally Sheedy’s spoilt brat forced to take a cleaning job when her father disowns her. Both movies have strong female roles, in fish-out-of-water situtions, where the men often come off as jerks.

A slapstick comedy mixing romance with class, I think ‘My Chauffeur’ is slightly over-rated, though there’s no denying Foreman’s winning charm, and of course the film ends with a typical ‘happy-ever-after’ finale, in the best of Hollywood tradition.

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