Succesful Manhattan dentist Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin) has a daughter who is getting married. He is anxious to meet the father of his future son-in-law, but when he does he is dismayed. Vince Ricardo (Peter Falk) is very eccentric and full of highly improbably stories about how he earns his living. Arkin is not happy. But it gets worse when Vince Ricardo turns up at his dentist's office to reveal to Sheldon that he works for the CIA and to show Sheldon stolen bank plates that are part of a complicated plot to catch some Central American criminals.He enlists the help of the reluctant Sheldon in his mysterious schemes. Sheldon finds himself being shot at and running for his life. Meanwhile some of the stolen bank plates turn up at Arkin's house, which is promptly flooded by the police. Soon Arkin and Falk are heading for Central America and more trouble.
This is a wonderful film, very very funny from beginning to end. Arkin's bemused dismay as he finds himself dragged into the complex plotting of the maverick Falk is marvellous, and Falk's nonchalant acceptance of everything that happens, up to and including a firing squad, makes an hilarious contrast with Arkin's panic. One of my favourite scenes is where Falk is in a cafe explaining to a taxi driver that he works for the CIA. He explains: "The benfits are terrific. The trick is not to get killed. That's really the key to the benefit programme." Falk and Arkin make an absolutely wonderful double act.