Hot Stuff (1979)

  • Year: 1979
  • Released: 15 Nov 1979
  • Country: United States
  • Adwords: N/A
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 480p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: PG
  • Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
  • Runtime: 91 min
  • Writer: Michael Kane, Donald E. Westlake
  • Director: Dom DeLuise
  • Cast: Dom DeLuise, Suzanne Pleshette, Jerry Reed
  • Keywords: police, receiving of stolen goods, scam, pawnshop,
74% – Critics
74% – Audience

Hot Stuff Storyline

In Miami, Florida, veteran policeman, Ernie Fortunato (Dom DeLuise), works the burglary task force with fellow officers, Doug (Jerry Reed) and Ramon (Luis Avalos), and is due to retire in less than two months. When supervisor, Captain Geiberger (Ossie Davis), informs the group that the task force’s funds are being suspended due to a low rate of convictions, the officers are frustrated. They argue that they apprehend plenty of the criminals, but the liberal judges release the outlaws. For the team’s final weeks, the captain assigns police sergeant Louise Webster (Suzanne Pleshette) to the unit.After arresting Hymie (Sydney Lassick), the owner of a disreputable pawnshop, and two of his customers, for trafficking stolen goods, Doug conceives an idea for the task force to establish an undercover fencing operation. Using their remaining departmental budget, they can take over Hymie’s shop, buy contraband, and catch thieves without searching for them, all without violating entrapment rules since the crime occurs before the arrest. Louise, who is experienced with surveillance, suggests videotaping the transactions, which will help ensure convictions in court. The captain is intrigued and obtains approval from the police chief, but on condition that Miami police will deny the scheme if the media finds out.As the first order of business, the team arranges for Hymie to take an extended vacation. Next, Louise sets up a hidden camera behind a two-way mirror to videotape customers at the counter. As a way of encouraging repeat business, Ernie and Doug pay top prices for stolen goods, while Ramon handles the accounts and keeps track of customer names and addresses. Furthermore, to enhance their reputation among criminal sellers, the team gives the impression of being members of organized crime.One night, three holdup men enter the shop pointing guns and steal all cash on hand, but the officers are unable to react because they do not want to expose the operation. After the incident, Ernie obtains a watchdog, named Jaws, who looks friendly, but happens to be a trained killer. The team buys a variety of stolen loot, ranging from harmonicas to chickens, and keeps track of the inventory in the back warehouse. Soon, a steady stream of petty thieves frequents the pawnshop.After the captain remarks that the customers should look more directly towards the camera, the team decorates the border of the two-way mirror with nude pictures of women. Unaware of the scheme, Lieutenant Kiley (Barney Martin) from the Miami Police Organized Crime Unit stops by and says he will investigate the shop unless he receives a weekly payment of $1,000. When he leaves, Louise is satisfied that she captured the corrupt officer on camera.Another day or two later, Florida mafia boss, Carmine (Marc Lawrence), arrives with two of his henchmen. He advises Ernie and Doug to cease claiming that they are part of the mafia “family” and orders them to shut down the business. Ernie declares they are members of a powerful out of state crime syndicate that is expanding, but Carmine remains suspicious and threatens to return.During a risky deal with weapons dealers, Doug and Ernie are taken by boat to a construction site and shown a truckload of machine guns for sale. They wear wires, while Louise and Ramon follow close behind and record the conversation. When the dealers demand immediate payment, Ernie and Doug reveal their police badges and weapons. A gunfight ensues, but the team finally outwits and apprehends the crooks.Back at the pawnshop, a boy delivers a dead fish, which Ernie interprets as a mafia death threat, and, later, the team is nearly the victim of a bomb that Carmine disguises in a Cuban cigar box. With their spending budget nearly exhausted and the warehouse stacked with stolen goods, the task force and the captain prepare to end the operation.To make arrests without arousing suspicion, they throw a party and invite all their criminal customers. During the festivities of food, drinks, and dancing, the captain plays the role of the team’s mafia boss, and guests are required to walk through a metal detector before entering. As everyone is enjoying the party, Ernie announces to the crowd of petty thieves that he and his colleagues are police officers and everyone is under arrest, but the guests do not believe him and laugh. As he tries to convince the crowd, Carmine and his thugs barge into the party. Carmine declares that he will not tolerate encroachment into his territory, and Ernie and Doug are knocked to the ground. The action sparks a fight as the petty thieves enter the fracas. Screaming that he only has two days left until retirement, Ernie backs away from Carmine, who is pointing a gun at him, but the bullets miss, and Ernie is only soiled by ketchup. As Miami police units finally arrive on the scene, the petty thieves and the mafia men are divided into separate groups and transported to prison.Later, at Ernie’s home, the captain reports to the task force that the operation resulted in 250 arrests and 231 convictions. The captain also happily announces that, instead of retiring, Ernie will be promoted to assistant director for the new burglary task force. As everyone goes home for the evening, a burglar sneaks out of Ernie’s house with a television set.

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Hot Stuff Movie Reviews

FINALLY out on DVD!!!

This is a funny movie. It was way too long in coming to DVD. I bought it for my sons and brother for Christmas. We worn out the VHS copy.

The ensemble cast is excellent. Each character has its unique personality. Very well acted, and it looks like they had a lot of fun making this. Sadly most every one of the main characters are gone now.

It does have the repertoire company of Burt Reynolds, but I think it is a better film with this cast then if Burt had taken the lead.

I wish Dom DeLuise had made more films. He became more interested in cooking later in life. He was a very funny man. I used to love him on Johnny Carson.

Please take the time to seek out this movie. You’ll enjoy it!


In Miami in Florida, cops Dom Deluise, Suzanne Pleshette, Jerry Reed, and Luis Avalos run a fencing operation as a sting.

It’s highly episodic and pretty funny, too, as you might expect with Donald Westlake doing the scripting with Michael Kane. The large and varied cast includes Ossie David, Marc Lawrence, Pat McCormick, and Sidney Lassick. The movie has a loose, cobbled-together feel that indicates its incidents are drawn from police files somewhere, and the performers manage to always sound like they’re making it up as it goes along — except for Lawrence, which lends a comedy air of its own.

Wacky Characters Make For Fun Movie

It’s funny how it was decades since viewing this movie again but I always remembered Dom DeLuise experimenting and lighting up a joint, and then laughing hysterically. That laugh put me in tears laughing so hard at him laughing and wheezing!

DeLuise, who I was sorry to see abuse the Lord’s name in vain so much in this film, at least early on, is still fun to watch as are his partners in crime in this story: Suzanne Pleshette, Jerry Reed and Ossie Davis. Actually, DeLuise, Reed and Pleshette play undercover cops in a sting operation, if you can believe that!

If you enjoy seeing oddball characters, you’ll like this movie. It certainly has it’s share of wackos.