TV director Richard A. Colla's
attempt to transfer Evan Hunter/Ed McBain's "87th Precint" novel "Fuzz"
was ambitious with regards to form and scope, but Colla clearly lacked
the skill and style to make it all work as a whole. He throws us into
the character-heavy, bustling offices of the 87th Precint in Boston,
trying to create that delicate balance between light comedy and serious
detective story in which characters float in and out of focus in
narrative style, and plot lines are laid out more or less in parallel,
and more or less intertwined. It could have worked had it been done with
more sleight-of-hand. As it is, the comedy is either overdone and
annoying (such as with the two ridiculous painters) or not clever enough.
And the main criminal plot lines, although potentially explosive
thematically, aren't portrayed with the sensibility or tension they
should have been. Hunter's point here, of course, is that the fuzz lacks
the competence and backing to do good police work, but Colla isn't able
to illustrate this other than through the clumsiness of the lead
characters. I feel sorry for Burt Reynolds, Tom Skerritt and Jack Weston
who had to put up with such banalities when they could have created
interesting characters with depth. One cannot help but ponder what
Robert Altman could have done with this material.