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Night Shift

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Night Shift, directed by Ron Howard in 1982, is an infectiously funny comedy infused with a tinge of dark satire that provides substantial fodder for hilarity. Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton and Shelley Long make up an unconventionally charming trio in their respective roles and together they make the storyline an enjoyable watch.

Henry Winkler, famously known for his role as the Fonz in "Happy Days," plays Chuck Lumley, a meek and mild-mannered New York city morgue attendant accustomed to a sleepy and monotonous night shift. Winkler delivers an understated performance that portrays his character's initially buttoned-down, rather quirky personality and gradual evolution as the story unfolds. His quiet, serene and somewhat boring life veers sharply off track with the arrival of his new colleague.

Michael Keaton in his breakthrough performance portrays Bill Blazejowski, an anarchic free spirit with an unusual entrepreneurial bend. His arrival significantly alters the humdrum routine of the morgue's night shift. Keaton's portrayal of the mercurial, fast-talking, ideas-a-minute Blaze, offers viewers a delightful taste of early career comedic brilliance that went on to define his illustrious career.

Chuck and Bill's professional life takes a wild turn when an unlikely opportunity presents itself in the form of a beautiful and charming call girl, Belinda, played by the radiant Shelley Long. Her entrée into their lives, compelled by her own set of circumstances, steers them onto an unconventional and hilarious entrepreneurial venture. Long exhibits a balance of charm and savvy that adds depth to her character and significantly enriches the plot.

Night Shift, at its core, is an unconventional story of friendship and unexpected opportunities set against the backdrop of bustling New York City. It subtly draws on the absurdity of what happens when the mundane is met with chaotic unpredictability.

The script, by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, perfectly exploits the contrasting personas of its lead characters to create an authentic narrative that has just the right balance of wit, comedy, and heart. The dialogues are sharp, the jokes are cleverly incorporated and the banter between the lead actors adds to the enjoyable experience.

What sets Night Shift apart is its ability to evoke hearty laughter while delivering well-rounded characters. Each leading actor excels in bringing out the innate realism of their personas while navigating an unfathomable situation. The shift in dynamics between Winkler and Keaton over the progression of the plot is impeccably presented as they feed off each other’s energy and individually unmask various sides of their own characters. Shelley Long's portrayal of Belinda effortlessly fits into the larger puzzle and she perfectly holds her own against the two male leads.

Ron Howard’s direction shines throughout the film. He skillfully layers the humor with shades of satire and realism, subtly threading in situational comedy and quick-witted humor. Howard’s knack of illustrating appealing characters in unconventional situations gets its full due in Night Shift. His unique storytelling ability and the manner in which he navigates the film's bizarre plot without letting it descend into absurdity is impressive.

The supporting cast also contributes to the overall success of the movie. Characters like Chuck’s overbearing fiancée, Charlotte, played by Gina Hecht, and the plethora of distinctive call-girls add another level of comedic depth to the film. Their individual on-screen moments help to add nuance to the central narrative and enhance the comedic palette.

In conclusion, Night Shift represents the morgue and its night shift as a metaphor for life taking unexpected turns and the unimaginable chaos that follows when controlled individuals get thrust into a whirlwind of absurdity. The film is a memorable comedy that does not merely hinge on farcical gags but rather tugs at the heartstrings by embedding its comedy within a story that exudes warmth and genuine affability. Its combination of comedy, romance, and an unforgettable soundtrack, featuring a wonderfully catchy theme song by Burt Bacharach, make it a classic example of an early 1980s film that certainly deserves a watch.

Night Shift is a Comedy movie released in 1982. It has a runtime of 105 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.5. It also holds a MetaScore of 62.

How to Watch Night Shift

Where can I stream Night Shift movie online? Night Shift is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Night Shift for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Ron Howard
Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton, Shelley Long, Clint Howard
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