The Gumball Rally is the all-time great comic car race and coast-to-coast racing and chase comedy ever made. It's only flaw is that it revived Burt Reynolds' career with such movies as Smokey and the Bandit (parts whatever) and the dreadful The Cannonball Run.
Although some might prefer It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (and Gumball Rally does pay homage to it with the exploding fireworks store scene), this really fun, non-stop driving action movie is simply brilliant.
It starts with actors like Michael Sarrazin who plays Bannon, a wealthy and bored rich guy who calls up his friends for another crack at racing from New York City to the Queen Mary Pier in Long Beach California in an unofficial chase for the ultimate prize: a gumball machine.
The movie also stars a then unknown Raul Julia as skirt-chasing racing champion Franco Bertollini, Gary Busey as a redneck mechanic, and the best supporting cast ever assembled in a funny movie.
There is not a single slow moment in this movie. What really makes it work however, aside from the simple plot of a cop (Roscoe, played by Norman Burton) who will go to any length to finally capture the rally teams as they race, once again, across the country, is the writing.
Everyone who has seen this really hilarious movie has a favorite quote. From Franco's "The first rule of Italian driving. (removes the rearview mirror) What's behind me is not important." to Bannon's "Fifty-five is fast enough to kill you but slow enough to make you think you're safe." to my personal fave from the Porsche team's Alice (Susan Flannery) and Jane (Joanne Nail) little talk after one promised to let some yokel have her if he could catch her:
Jane: It was love at first sight.
Alice: Are you kidding? Love at first sight? Out there? In the middle of the night? In the middle of a field? Under the stars?
Jane: A girl can't always find the perfect spot.
You also have to enjoy Roscoe's various attempts at getting Bannon and his friends, the real California Highway Patrol cops who go cross country dressed as cops and then convince another cop (Officer Williams who thinks he is Henry Fonda and John Wayne) he is on some form of candid camera bit, and, most of all, the adventures of motorcycle maniac Lapchick (Harvey Jason) and his talent for literally chewing up the scenery. As for the ending, well....
The Gumball Rally is an absolutely great, PG movie that has inspired an actual race called Gumball 3000. It's about time this classic comedy came out on DVD.