Dirty Mary Crazy Larry

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry ★★★½

A desperate race-car driver and his mechanic steal a bag of cash to get a new set of wheels. The only complication: the driver’s feisty one-night stand jumps in the getaway car and demands to go along for the ride. The rest of the movie is all about fast driving and wild stunts—some of which are pretty goddamn hair-raising. 

DLCM is kinda interesting in that Peter Fonda’s “Larry” is an antihero, but not in the sense of being a misfit or iconoclast. Underneath his cool-guy exterior, he’s actually just an asshole; he needles his partner about his alcoholism, he  demeans Mary with nicknames like “dingleberry” and “supercrotch,” and he generally doesn’t give a shit about anything except getting himself back in the racing circuit. Oh, and he stole a bunch of money from a local supermarket!

Now, that all might not sound very pleasant, but Fonda manages to present his character in such a way that you only gradually see how small and maybe even pathetic he is, and that gives the story unexpected depth for what is essentially just a car chase movie. You could maybe even say that it challenges the viewer’s expectations, since we habitually want our outlaws to be charming rascals, when in reality most criminals are probably just like Larry—i.e., self-centered dicks.

Anyway, DLCM is one of those movies that’s just kinda easy watching, if you know what I mean, and I appreciated that. Plus I like anything ‘70s, not to mention all the vroom vroom screech crash. I also have to point out that the wimpy, folky opening theme song is so late-sixties/early-seventies. “Time, where did you run to, I thought we were friends.” Oy! You gotta hear it, it’s kinda hilarious.

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