Anything goes in this knockabout farce about discredited spies on the prowl for loose money and women.
Bill Schiller rose from Georgia-cracker roots to play with the big boys in the CIA. But his son was killed in Vietnam, his marriage went south, and now he’s been put out to pasture. Vowing one last score before he checks out, he targets his favorite cash cow, Johnny McLendon, a sometime Agency errand boy tormented because his looks and habits make everybody call him “frog boy” when he’d rather be called “dog boy.” Summoned to Schiller’s side, ostensibly to tell Ivy League bagman Dunbarton Oakes that his Agency-front foundation is out of business, McLendon and his trash-talking chauffeur Ronnie Gordon think they’ve gone to heaven. But the $350,000 McLendon’s weaseled out of his mother for his adventure—the down payment on a promised stake of millions—sounds even more like heaven to the independent contractors who promptly belly up to them. Bart Oakes, who’s no more ready for retirement than Bill Schiller, has his secretary, CIA widow Maggie Donald, seduce McLendon to keep an edge on him; seeing how effective a bargaining chip female nudity can be, she seduces Oakes as well. Adult bookstore owner Ray Justus and his partner Peanut Shoke, who normally fleece greedy muttonheads by promising to set them up as dope dealers, don’t see why they shouldn’t get a piece of McLendon too, and Peanut’s girlfriend, Ginger Loudermilk, is still straining for the top of America’s upward mobility curve. The ensuing gossamer complications show alliances melting like noonday mirages as cast members demonstrate their eagerness to put their former buddies or lovers through anything for another turn at the trough.
Lacking the hard satiric core of Ross Thomas or Elmore Leonard, Willard (Down on Ponce, 1997) instead whips up a three-ring circus for fans of nonstop zanies.