Cinema: Dull Finish

CAR WASH

Directed by MICHAEL SCHULTZ

Screenplay by JOEL SCHUMACHER

There is, occasionally, a certain funky charm about Car Wash. One wishes that somebody had really thought about the thing and shaped it into what it might have been—a genuinely affecting, amusing slice of lower-depths urban life. Instead, the picture tries to get by on an unassuming, throw-away air—and ends up as an inoffensive disappointment.

The movie purports to do nothing more than record a day in the life of the title institution, from a few minutes before opening to just after closing. The owner is a white man, hard-pressed by automated competition and...

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