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Film / Night Shift

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Night Shift is a 1982 comedy film directed by Ron Howard and starring Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton, and Shelley Long.

Having been reassigned to the unenviable night shift at the New York City morgue where he works, mild-mannered Chuck Lumley (Winkler) struggles to get along with his new assistant, the wacky and exuberant Bill Blazejowski (Keaton, in his Star-Making Role). Meanwhile, Chuck's neighbor Belinda Keaton (Long) is a Hooker with a Heart of Gold who is struggling to get along after her pimp was murdered. Chuck's Good Samaritan efforts to help Belinda and Bill's penchant for Zany Schemes eventually lead to them running a prostitution ring out of the city morgue. Hilarity Ensues.

No relation to Stephen King's Night Shift.


This film provides examples of:

  • Angry Guard Dog: Chuck is tormented by one throughout the film. After his Character Development, he sends it away be yelling, "Go home!"
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Bill carries around a tape recorder for all the times when he's struck by one of his "good ideas". At a moment when he's particularly annoyed at Bill, Chuck grabs his tape recorder and yells "This is Chuck telling Bill to SHUT UP!" into it.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Chuck's is Charlotte Koogle, played by Gina Hecht
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: Bill offers this as a reason why their scheme is moral, claiming that men will either use hookers to relieve their urges or else they will sexually assault little Girl Scouts. ("He goes and jumps on a Girl Scout and breaks her cookies and you call that moral?")
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: After Chuck and Belinda hook up, he just assumes that she will give up prostitution even though she has apparently no other means of supporting herself and he's still engaged to Charlotte at this point. The resulting disagreement results in a Second-Act Breakup.
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  • Prison Rape: After ending up in prison, Chuck declares that, "At this moment, I have sunk as low as I can go." Cue effeminate man holding up a piece of paper with hearts cut out of it. This joke is often judged to be homophobic.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: By hooking up with Belinda, Chuck is cheating on Charlotte. But don't worry, it's okay because Charlotte is portrayed as boring and naggy.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The screenwriter was inspired by a news item about a prostitution ring run out of a city morgue.

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