40th anniversary viewing. #43 on my list "The Renaissance Period of Film – the 1970’s: My Ranked Viewings from 1978"
It took Nicholson three tries before he got playing dumb down effectively. He was grossly over-the-top (but funny) in The Fortune. As director of Goin' South, he gave himself free rein with his bawdy, scruffy failed outlaw (still funny) but failed to give the real comedic talent (John Belushi, Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito) anything to do. He would finally succeed in mastering playing dumb in his portrayal of Charlie Partana in Prizzi's Honor under the guiding hand of John Huston.
Goin' South was not the follow-up to Cuckoo's Nest everyone was expecting from Nicholson. Give him credit, though, for being willing to explore different genres and characters outside the typical leading man mold.