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BURT REYNOLDS STARRING IN HIS CULT DARK COMEDY 'THE END'

Burt Reynolds directs and stars in the dark comedy THE END Year: 1978 Rating: ***1/2
Best remembered for the last half-hour involving Burt Reynolds, as a dying man with less than a year to live, and Dom DeLuise, whom he meets at an insane asylum after an unsuccessful suicide attempt: Crazy Dom's given the personal task to kill Burt so he doesn't have to do it himself...

Before the human cartoon zaniness is a satisfying, darkly comedic hour where Reynold's character, a formerly shady insurance scammer, Sonny, meets with a young priest (Robbie Benson, basically playing, Robbie Benson as a priest) who's more curious about Sonny's sins than a confession...
Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in THE END
Followed by his flaky lover played by Sally Field, who, having never looked hotter, as he tries for a good old fashion "pity f---", has more annoying house cats than desire.

Then he visits his ex wife with her Latin lover; then beloved daughter (Kristy McNichol) who he walks through a colorful park; and his parents, veterans Myrna Loy and Pat O'Brien, each oblivious to the impending doom.
Burt Reynolds in THE END
The beginning provides a hilarious moment as Sonny's handed down the horrible news by his doctor (Norman Fell) while staring into a large aquarium, an obvious improv by Reynolds who can be quite funny reacting to things around him: including an odd looking fish and later on, his ex wife's gigolo/lover and a noisy cat in Field's shabby home...

The fast-paced third act in the seemingly tranquil insane asylum with Burt and Dom's schizophrenic Marlon Borunki, who tells Polish jokes while holding back tears when we first meet him,  has some funny moments...
Future Paternity director David Steinberg with Burt Reynolds in The End
But it's Sonny's initial journey to find something to live and/or die for that really works, providing Reynolds an opportunity to wield both comedy and pathos throughout the bleak story-line...

Since we meet Sonny right after he’s handed down the news, we never get to know the jerk that  made commercials selling lakeside properties without lakes, cheating on his wife with hookers, or ignoring his teenage daughter...
Kristy McNichol with Burt Reynolds in THE END
Yet these traits seep out of the dying Sonny, and at the same time, a new man emerges. Despite coming across as a subdued Archie Bunker, using words like "beaner" without a second thought...

He's someone you'll dig hanging out with during the ninety minute odyssey. And it takes a versatile actor like Reynolds could pull off such a flawed human being and make him so likable and humorous.
Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in THE END
Burt Reynolds in THE END
Burt Reynolds in THE END with James Best
Burt Reynolds in THE END with Myrna Loy and Pat O'Brien
Burt Reynolds in THE END with Pat O'Brien
Burt Reynolds in THE END with Kristy McNichol
Burt Reynolds in THE END with Kristy McNichol
Burt Reynolds in THE END
Burt Reynolds in THE END
Burt Reynolds in THE END with Joanne Woodward
Sally Field in THE END
Burt Reynolds in THE END with Sally Field
Burt Reynolds in THE END
Dom Deluise takes over in THE END
Burt Reynolds in THE END
Sally Field in THE END
David Steinberg with Joanne Woodward in THE END with Strother Martin
Burt Reynolds in THE END
Burt Reynolds at almost the end of THE END
Dom Deluise and Burt Reynolds in the third act of THE END
Opening Credit font with dead D for THE END
Burt Reynolds and Dana Plato (third from bottom left) in THE END
Lobby Card artwork includes Burt Reynolds and Dana Plato on bottom left for PATERNITY

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