Car 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.”