Rolling Stone - 04/15/2004
"A great bad movie from the 1970s."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch and Harvey Keitel head an all-star cast in this wildly inventive comedy about an offbeat ambulance service that's funny enough to cause its own medical emergency. In a scheme to beat out competing ambulance services, an ace driver (Cosby), an office secretary paramedic (Welch) and a suspended cop (Keitel) resort to some outrageous behavior to help people in distress. They're one crazy crew whose condition is even more critical than their clients!
This highly irreverent and satirical black comedy recounts the daily tragedies of a group of ambulance drivers at a run-down company in 1970s California. A smart-aleck blend of television's TAXI and M*A*S*H and precursor to BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, the film is set at the F&B ambulance company, which is the home away from home for a motley crew of drivers obsessed with bringing in more patients than their competition while working their respective shifts. Bill Cosby stars as Mother, the wisecracking leader who plays by his own rules and drives with his loyal partner, Leroy (Bruce Davison). Together, Mother and Leroy encounter a wide variety of adventures as they race around town looking for calamity and disaster. Jugs (Raquel Welch) is the aptly nicknamed buxom secretary who consistently dismisses the advances of the lewd and crude drivers while secretly studying to become the first female driver at F&B--until she meets Speed (Harvey Keitel), an ex-cop and Vietnam vet under investigation for drug charges who joins the F&B crew. As the company teeters near bankruptcy and disaster strikes, the drivers must band together to keep their struggling company afloat. Shot in an episodic style that combines wildly raunchy humor with gritty and dark tragedy, this wild ride is a highly original fast-paced romp. MOTHER, JUGS AND SPEED also features Larry Hagman as a sex-obsessed driver and the great Allen Garfield as Harry Fishbine, the sleazy owner of the company.
Theatrical release: May 1, 1976.
Source material was based on screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz's actual experiences while riding along with a Venice, California, ambulance company.
Screenwriter-producer Tom Mankiewicz is the son of well-known director-screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz.