Freebie and the Bean
Screenplay: Robert Kaufman and Floyd Mutrux
Release: Warner Archive
As titles go Freebie and the Bean is a little weak. Before I checked the background I assumed it was a musical. I was wrong. Wildly, frightfully, wrong. This movie is great.
What cops in their right minds would arrest a big-time racketeer on an indecent exposure charge because he zipped up his fly? The answer is none. The answer’s also Freebie Waters and Benito “Bean” Vasquez, who are assuredly not in their right minds.
James Caan and Academy Award®-winner* Alan Arkin are Freebie and Bean, mismatched San Francisco cops who bird-dog a notorious mobster like they’re auditioning for a demolition derby, cutting loose with bullets and wisecracks all the way. Directed by Richard Rush (The Stunt Man), this rough-and-ready early buddy-cop caper follows in the skid marks of Bullitt and The French Connection – but it’s a burning-rubber classic itself, with four major chase scenes and more than 100 car crashes. Fully loaded with humor and firepower, Freebie and the Bean is one beloved smash hit.
I cannot remember the last time I laughed this hard for as long as I did. The movie is so well written and acted I offer a blanket recommendation and do not feel like anything I can say could possibly do this film justice.
I want to watch a double feature with this film and The In-Laws pretending that Alan Arkin was flashed with one of the Men-in-Black memory wiper things. The double will probably belabor the joy but I will be happy when they are done.
But I digress, this film is a precious, but flawed, gem. I did not feel like the film even deserved a single parity point as there didn’t seem to be any diversity, to my memory. And there was a tremendous chase scene where James Caan’s stunt double stuck out like a sore thumb. While these two flaws would have me switching many movies off the writing was so tight and the performances of James Caan and Alan Arkin were just perfect that they hoist the movie up and keep it there. (Also the stunt performance, while glaring, was very exhilarating.)
The movie is great and should be a blind, impulse, buy. Especially if you liked The In-Laws, or The Driver, or Baby Driver, really, this one deserves to have a spot on your shelf.
Director: 7 – Cinematography: 4 – Edit: 3 – Parity: 0 – Main performance: 10 – Else performance: 7 – Score: 7 – Sound: 5 – Story: 6 – Script: 10 – Effects: 6 – Design: 4 – Costumes: 6 – Keeps interest: 8 – Lasting: 10