A cop comedy, first of all. The straightforward blending of lighthearted cop humor with thrones and principalities, second. Then DeLuise opens up his treasuries in the casting and direction of scene after scene in the most far-reaching style, a very deep rendering of the criminal underworld as comical stuff full of bits and rags and gags, a thieving rascally world built up into manias and mayhem yet capable of freeing itself from its cadre of Mafia oppressors.
A fixed quantum, each element of the equation, moral-bound hoodlums on the family plan, desperadoes, hapless “full-time crooks and petty thieves”, a disinterested police force.
DeLuise as a detective offered Colombian Gold in the performance of his undercover duties turns into Lou Costello. The sting cops are sent a Mafia fish, Luis Avalos wraps it back up thoughtfully, “it’s a shame to waste it.” Suzanne Pleshette also on the force supervises the videotaping of stolen goods offered to the phony fences, DeLuise is blocking her shot, she enters it silently and repositions him without a sound, cigarette clamped in mouth, like a UFA director.
The brightness and ebullience that critics couldn’t account for is all Miami sunshine on material gratefully deployed.