The first 15 minutes have some funny bits, but the movie winds up sapping you. It's a kind of whoopee-cushion nightmare, as if you woke up one morning and noticed that everyone on the street was drooling on his or her tie.
Hired hand Lester made one of the worst films of the decade, Firestarter, and he's still getting his jollies by incinerating people on the screen. Last time it was supposed to be scary and this time it's supposed to be funny; both times it's been simply boring and somewhat offensive. [20 Aug 1986, p.C5]
An object lesson in wasting a talented comedian. The film is so far off base that Candy winds up an action hero, and his co- star, Eugene Levy (who was even weaselier on SCTV) gets the girl. [15 Aug 1986, p.D2]
Armed and Dangerous is an extremely violent, often mean-spirited comedy in which most of the gags depend on the absurdly excessive use of force. Jokes like these are designed to appeal to adolescent power fantasies, and while kids may love them, adults are likely to be bored by their repetitiousness and senselessness.
The movie is flat, often pushy, and has none of the bubbling joy of the SCTV sketches that Candy and Levy illuminated with their presence. Set pieces are tossed in every few minutes in a vain reach for laughter; but under director Lester's sloppy hand, there is very little to laugh at.
If the very sight of John Candy, the outsized comedian, strikes you as a hoot, then perhaps Armed and Dangerous is for you. It is difficult to imagine who else this latest movie about a pair of bumblers could be for.
It takes a director with a true genius for disaster to put together SCTV veterans John Candy and Eugene Levy, the fine character actors Kenneth McMillan and Robert Loggia and the delicious new comic actress Meg Ryan and come up with a movie without a single laugh in it. Indeed, who but Mark Lester could have pulled it off? Lester's idea of directing is to turn up the music and wreck a lot of cars -- this isn't a movie, it's a Volvo ad.