Grand Theft Auto

Even though Grand Theft Auto (not the game but the movie) is a light car chase comedy it is one of Ron Howardís best movies. It didnít win awards and itís not one he will be remembered for years from now when they reassess his career. But itís well directed, quickly paced and ultimately just as satisfying and entertaining as any film he has done.

The basic story is about a young couple named Sam (Ron Howard) and Paula (Nancy Morgan) who drive hard and fast to Vegas - in a Paulaís fatherís stolen Rolls Royce - to get married. Once on the road a major chase ensues when Paulaís ex-boyfriend Colin (Paul Linke) calls the local radio station and offers a $10,000 reward for Paulaís safe return.

All gets a little more out of hand when Colinís mother (Marion Ross) offers an extra $10,000 reward for his return. Soon over a dozen people including the police, a couple of auto mechanics, a bible salesman, a farmer, some low riding Latinos and the mob are hot in pursuit.

In each situation too a car is stolen multiplying the number of Ďgrand theft autosí. Itís all fast, furious and silly and eventually everything ends up at a demolition derby. But the best thing is that the film never takes itself too seriously. And too like most all of Roger Corman productions everything is done cheap and on the fly but ultimately providing a competent B-movie entertainment. And, in this case, there are plenty of cars that are stolen (8), take flight (10) and/or crash into each other (15) along the way.

Grand Theft Auto is one of the better car theft-chase-crash comedies of the 1970ís. It is a little light on real drama (after all it is directed by Ron Howard) but it is good fun and worth a look. As a movie it is a bit more honest than Ron Howardís latest offerings if only because it doesnít try to foist a moral lesson on us. As a 25th anniversary DVD it is above average. It provides good extras and the sound and picture are fine. The only downside is that the film is presented full screen.