Release Date: August 5, 1987
Runtime: 117 minutes
Studio: Touchstone Pictures (Disney)
Director: John Badham
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss; Emilio Estevez; Madeleine Stowe; Aidan Quinn; Forest Whitaker; Dan Lauria
This is a harmless, rather insignificant movie. No belly laughs, but some chuckles, as Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez keep an eye on Madeleine Stowe hoping her thug ex-boyfriend will show up and they can nab him.
That’s it for the plot. Slight, generic, insignificant. But everyone looks like they’re having fun under veteran director John Badham’s hand. Most of the comedy derives from Dreyfuss unexpectedly (for him, not for the audience) falling in love with Stowe and trying to keep secret the fact that he’s really a detective assigned to keep her under surveillance. Some laughs, too, come from Dreyfuss/Estevez punking their daytime stakeout counterparts (Forest Whitaker and Dan Lauria) and vice versa. But Jim Kouf’s (“Rush Hour”; “National Treasure”) script is all chuckle-type laughs, nothing truly “funny.” This seems like the type of mid-grade movie that a studio (in this case, Touchstone) puts into production so that it can have a full slate for the year (as evidenced by its August release date).
“Stakeout,” nevertheless, was a hit upon its 1987 release (I saw it in the theater) and spawned a not-quite-as-successful 1993 sequel that reunited Dreyfuss and Estevez. The gorgeous Stowe went on to the Kurt Russell/Ray Liotta starrer “Unlawful Entry” and Kevin Costner and Tony Scott’s overheated “Revenge”. Kind of funny that she’s now in a TV show called “Revenge”…I just realized that! It’s sort of fun as well to see Aidan Quinn in an early role, as well as future Oscar winner Whitaker.
All in all, though, this movie is the definition of a time-waster. Stakeout provides a relatively humorous two-hours of your life to waste while you’re waiting for something more important to happen.