Short Time (film)
Promotional movie poster for the film
|Directed by||Gregg Champion|
|Produced by||Michael Borofsky
|Written by||John Blumenthal
|Music by||Ira Newborn|
|Cinematography||John J. Connor|
|Edited by||Frank Morriss
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date(s)|| May 4, 1990
May 9, 1991
February 21, 1992
|Running time||97 min.|
Seattle detective Burt Simpson (Coleman) is a man who is perennially so concerned about planning for the future that he can't really bring himself to enjoy the present. This strains his relationship with his wife (Teri Garr) and young son. However, this suddenly changes when a mix-up at the hospital (caused by a bus driver who is trying to hide his recent use of marijuana) makes him believe that he has two weeks to live. He subsequently finds out that his family will only receive a small amount of money if he dies of natural causes, but will receive hundreds of thousands if he is killed in the line of duty. He determines that he will find a way to make that happen.
His first effort centers around a domestic disturbance call. Aware that such affairs routinely turn violent, he eagerly responds. However, it turns out to be an elderly couple. One of them misheard the other because they were deaf, and a kind remark was mistaken for an insult. When the error is revealed, the two happily reconcile. A more promising situation arises a bit later, when Simpson is involved in a wild car chase with some fleeing suspects. His vehicle, the suspects' car, and much of the city all wind up demolished, but no lives are lost. Simpson is awarded a medal for his bravery.
Simpson then intervenes in a hostage situation involving a crazed man with a bomb. However, due largely to his newfound realization of the importance of life, he is able to convince the bomber to give himself up. He is awarded another medal for this action.
Between these events, Simpson spends what he believes are his final days finally starting to live in the here and now. He buys a red sports car, spends time with his son, and reconciles with his wife. He also reveals to his partner (Matt Frewer) his genuine respect and affection for him. The latter, mystified at this strange behavior, does an investigation of his own, and soon finds out what has happened.
By the time he has found out, however, Simpson has gotten involved in a running shootout with a heavily armed robber. The chase ends with both of them balanced on a window washer's scaffold, high on a skyscraper. Simpson's partner reveals to him that he is not going to die, but it is apparently too late: Simpson's adversary falls to his death, and Simpson falls after him.
The final scene occurs at a funeral, first revealing Simpson's family and partner. However, Simpson is also present; the funeral is actually for the bus driver (who died of his condition). Simpson has attended out of respect for the man who "gave me back my life". A photo in his partner's possession shows what happened: although Simpson did fall from the scaffold, his leg became entangled in some ropes, and he wound up dangling upside-down.
Dabney Coleman as Burt Simpson
Matt Frewer as Ernie Dills
Teri Garr as Carolyn Simpson
Barry Corbin as Captain
Joe Pantoliano as Scalese
Xander Berkeley as Stark
The film reunites Coleman and Garr in their second pairing together following their performances in Sydney Pollak's classic 1982 film Tootsie. In that film however, Coleman and Garr share no screen time together, as opposed to here where their characters interact heavily with one another.
The film was released on Region 2 DVD by Carlton International Media UK in 2002. It has only had a VHS release in the USA and never released on Region 1 DVD.
Short Time was rated PG-13 by the MPAA in America and rated M in Australia.