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Wiseacre underachiever Bill Murray leads a motley crew of dropouts and losers (including Harold Ramis, John Candy and Judge Reinhold) in all manner of parade-ground hijinks in Ivan Reitman's anarchic service comedy.
Simply put, to see Stripes is to understand the undeniable awesomeness of Bill Murray. The second collaboration between the SNL alum and director Ivan Reitman is the quintessential Murray movie, setting the star's wiseacre-rebel act against the ultimate in stuffy authority: the US military. Out of work and out of options, John Winger (Murray) convinces his friend Russell (co-writer Harold Ramis) to join the army in hopes of getting in shape while avoiding rent. Winger soon becomes the ringleader of the motley crew of dropouts and losers among his fellow enlistees, including Elmo (Judge Reinhold) and the lumbering Ox (John Candy), and a thorn in the side of the fearsome Sgt. Hulka (Warren Oates). When their unit is posted to Italy, Winger and Russell's pursuit of two pretty female MPs inadvertently gets their platoon trapped behind enemy lines — compelling these two perennial slackers to undertake a daring rescue attempt. Reitman's economic direction makes for a relentless comic pace, and none other than Roger Ebert admiringly acclaimed Stripes as "an anarchic slob movie, a celebration of all that is irreverent, reckless, foolhardy, undisciplined, and occasionally scatological. It's a lot of fun."