Car Wash

Car Wash movie photo starrating-3andahalfstars.jpgCar Wash belongs in a time capsule. It perfectly captures a moment for posterity never to be repeated again. Probably the lasting contribution from the 1976 comedy is the energetic title track, written and produced by Norman Whitfield. As performed by Rose Royce it‘s a spirited ode to (what else?) the joys of working in a car wash. It was an across the board smash going all the way to #1. But the entire soundtrack is a funky discofied slice of heaven that perfectly complements the action on screen. The movie wasn’t particularly successful initially but has since grown into a cult film with a devoted following. It’s sort of the spiritual progenitor of later flicks like House Party, Friday and Barbershop.

Who knew that working at a car wash could be so much fun? Directed by Michael Schultz (Cooley High, The Last Dragon) from a screenplay by Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever, A Time to Kill), this one day in the life of an L.A. car wash is a buoyant episodic comedy. It’s hard to say who’s odder, the employees or the customers. The multi racial cast has a relaxed, friendly presence that really serves these lighthearted shenanigans well. Most of the actors are not widely known but a couple big names do pop up. Richard Pryor appears briefly as Daddy Rich, a colorful reverend of The Church of Divine Economic Spirituality. He’s supported by the Pointer Sisters, who break into a joyous song that almost has you wishing this was an actual musical. Comedian George Carlin has a running bit as a cabbie looking for the woman who stiffed him of his fare. The meandering storyline has no real focus, but it is a carefree diversion. This tone is decidedly upbeat. The writing is amusing and there are several hilarious lines sprinkled throughout. Many belong to actor Antonio Fargas as flamboyant Lindy who delivers his every line with a lot of sass. Want an example? When put down by militant black nationalist Duane, er uh excuse me, Abdullah Mohamed Akbar, he shoots back with one of the most memorable lines in the film: “Honey, I’m more man than you’ll ever be and more woman than you’ll ever get.”

11 Responses to “Car Wash”

  1. “Honey, I’m more man than you’ll ever be and more woman than you’ll ever get.”


    I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of this film! I may have to check it out though. Richard Prior is so funny.

    Nice review.


  2. Classic! Two comedians at the top of their game.


  3. GaryLee828 Says:

    I actually have not seen this one; i’ve heard of it a lot through the years, but just never thought to actually watch it. Considering how much I hate most of the current comedy I will have to give this one a try soon. 🙂


  4. This movie brought back so many memories. It’s just crazy fun, with an awesome theme song. Glad I took that trip back.


    • Great theme song and this also had the lovely ballad “I Wanna Get Next to You” and “I’m Going Down” which would be covered even more famously by Mary J. Blige in 1994.


  5. I am very familiar with the breezy theme song for this film performed by Rose Royce, although surprisingly, I’ve never watched this movie. I think I might need to remedy that since it not only has Richard Pryor and George Carlin, two of my favorite comedians, but it takes place over a single day. I love slice of life films for the inadvertent ability to function as amusing time capsules. Given my appreciation for nostalgia and 70s grooves, I’m pretty sure Car Wash will be right up my alley.


    • Seems like you’d be a receptive audience for this lighthearted comedy. This was a spur of the moment decision. Saw this on on Netflix instant watch. Glad I did.


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