GOIN' SOUTH

title: GOIN' SOUTH
year: 1978
cast: Jack Nicholson, Mary Steenburgen, John Belushi, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morris
director: Jack Nicholson
rating: ***

Jack Nicholson doing a Strother Martin imitation (stuffy-nose voice and scruffy dog persona) in a comedy/western Nicholson himself directed centering on an outlaw who, to avoid being hanged, marries a tough, classy, stubborn gal with a heart - and mine full - of gold. She uses Jack to do the menial labor, basically putting him through a sort of boot camp, in which they eventually fall in love. "Women love outlaws like little boys love stray puppies", he tells her. It's a nifty character-driven romantic comedy till the last half hour when Jack's old gang returns to steal the gold and, although trying for action, things get somewhat standard and dull. The budding romance between the lady and the tramp is what makes this movie work. The late John Belushi appears in a glorified cameo as lawman Christopher Lloyd's screaming Mexican deputy.

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