- Movie Rating -

They Went That-a-Way & That-a-Way (1978)

| December 15, 1978

Tim Conway’s career peaked in the 70s largely because he was the secret ingredient to “The Carol Burnett Show,” an insane display of virtuoso slapstick comedy that seemed to come from his bones.  In the mid-to-late 70s that success way parlayed into a movie career that, while not exactly skyrocketing, at least kept him employed.

No one can ever call his film work “inspired” but there were often moments, which are sadly not on display in the oddly titled They Went That-a-Way and That-a-Way, a torpid prison comedy that is not only unfunny but made shameful by the fact that this was Conway’s first screenwriting credit.

Conway is, for some reason, partnered with Chuck McCann and the two play Dewey and Wallace, small town lawmen who are, for some reason, ordered by the Governor to go undercover at the state penitentiary to find out where a gang of crooks have hidden their loot.  Unfortunately, once Dewey and Wallace are behind prison walls, the governor drops dead, and since no one else knows about the ruse, they are trapped.

What follows is a series of gags that might have been better suited for “The Carol Burnett Show” as the two prove an inability to perform the most menial task, everything from peeling potatoes to using a household tape dispenser.  Worse, the movie tries to recreate Conway’s famous “Dentist sketch” routine, but without the audience reaction and Korman’s sweaty, stifled laughter, the gag runs kind of dry.

The ending is particularly embarrassing, with Conway playing an offensive stereotype of a Japanese dignitary and McCann playing a geisha as the two run from the cops, the Confederates, their fellow inmates and even the fire department.  It’s not as funny as it could have been, neither the scene nor the movie.  Ulk!

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1978) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy