Yes, the film is bad. Yes, it is casually racist, homophobic and misogynist (though with slight turns by Altman to undercut that aspect of the genre). O.C. and Stiggs is also, sorta, good.
1. Dialog gems
Siggs: Here’s a list of places I want this car to be totally unwelcome. Number one: funerals. Number two: affairs of state, you know, real formal ones…ones with…chamber music. Number three: wet golf greens. Number four: the acropolis.
O.C.: Ah, yes. Driving this car right in the acropolis should be completely horrifying to every civilized guy on earth.
2. For no apparent reason the unknown Nigerian band King Sunny Ade and the African Beats are a MAJOR PLOT POINT.
3. Many of the characters in the film are given a quiet moment of pathos, little beats of human tragedy within a ridiculous 80s teen comedy.
4. It actually seems like Altman cared about the production. It is beautifully shot and has an immensely layered soundtrack. He didn’t fall back on his days in TV here, it’s a fully realized Robert Altman film in line with his explorations of male friendship (MASH, California Split).
5. Dennis Hopper is in this film, playing a parody of his role in Apocalypse Now. It looks like Hopper is having the time of his life.