The late eighties were pretty good to Liza. Or Liza was pretty good to the late eighties. Hot off her international best selling album RESULTS, that contained the gay dream come true song DON'T DROP BOMBS, Liza proceeded not to follow her own advice and dropped a bomb herself. Luckily, she snatched Burt Reynolds to help her and most of the blame fell on his shoulders. Why? Because everyone loves Liza!! The two joined forces to create a low octane, zero romantic thriller called RENT- A- COP. Or as I like to call it, RENT-A-WRECK.
The first rule of watching RENT-A-WRECK is that you must have a lot of ice cream to get through it. It doesn't matter what flavor, I prefer Ben and Jerry's Cookie Dough. It helps. Promise. Following the trend set by Jane Fonda (The Morning After) and Babs (Nuts), Liza plays a hooker that is suppose to be in her late 30's, but looks like she is close to her early 50's. She looks good, but to hand over a wad of cash to get a BJ or a half and half in a back alley? I guess I can suspend my disbelieve. But only for Liza. While on a job in a posh Chicago hotel, she is the only witness to a mob murder and instead of joining a convent and making the sisters sing R&B classics with a spiritual twist, she turns to the only man that can help her, Burt Reynolds.
We are first introduced to Burt's character, Church, when he is playing a department store Santa. Oh, yeah, RENT-A-WRECK is set during Christmas. But this is no ordinary Santa. He is an washed up cop who ends up tearing the department store up while trying to catch some bad guys. Customers look horrified and are pushed aside in what looks to be very painful stunts for day workers. Merry Christmas Extras! You got a broken nose!!
Burt is called to investigate the hotel murder and runs into Liza! They call her "the hooker from the hotel" for most of the movie, but her name is Della. In a brilliant move, they decide to re-trace Della's steps which means eating Chinese food and Liza confessing to Burt that she use to be a dancer. Sadly, no musical productions. SIGH. They do meet up with a coke dealer who might have some clues and Liza seems to get a little too excited by the coke dealer. Like she forgot she was actually in a movie or something. The great thing about all this is, that Burt and Liza are falling in love!!! Like ROMANCING THE STONE love/hate falling in love, but without the charm. They have some of the worst on screen chemistry ever. Liza really tries to go there, but Burt just seems like he hates her and the movie. Everyone seems to be FREEZING their asses off and the cast looks miserable anytime a scene is set outdoors or some place that does not have a roaring fire place. But at least Liza gets to wear fur coats for most of the movie.
Then it happens. Divas collide. In gay world, there is nothing better when Divas collide. Two for one! Liza and Burt turn to the only person they can trust. Dionne Warwick!!! Dionne is Liza's madame and has all the files of her clients on a computer! And she can print them out on a floppy disk! If you have ever been to my house, you most likely have seen this clip from the movie. It is GOLD! All of Dionne's lines are looped in and she looks as uncomfortable as Liza does when she has to kiss Burt. If you get me drunk enough, I will perform the scene for you. That being said, they do get some good clues and Dionne has to say mom/son domination and it makes everyone feel weird.
The movie turns into a mini-chase movie and there are a couple of hit men who can't seem to get the job done. Dionne gets knifed on a bridge to nowhere. Burt's house blows up, but don't worry, cuz it is just a miniature. Kinda cute. Liza puts her bionic hip to good use and does a couple of medium dangerous stunts, but leaves the big ones to her stunt double, which looks like Dina Martina in her Liza wig. I ain't complaining. The couple celebrate the holidays and take a break to do this:
Believe me it is worse on the screen!
By the end, Liza has left hooking behind now that her pimp is dead and the bad guys are all murdered by Burt. And the movie goes from RENT-A- COP to SNATCH-A-HUSBAND. Merry Christmas indeed!!!
The movie failed on all accounts. It died at the box office and most video stores only carried one copy of it on their shelves, which is the kiss of death for a movie. Every time I watch it I express my concern about how it should not be viewed, but alas Liza draws me back in. If you are brave enough to go down the road of RENT-A-COP remember...have ice cream!