Night Shift (1982)

Film and Plot Synopsis

After a pompous morgue attendant lands himself on the night shift, he’s stuck with a co-worker looking for that one great idea that’ll make him rich. His life takes an even more unexpected turn when his prostitute/neighbor loses her pimp, and has no business. Once his co-worker finds out, he sees dollar signs, and the boys turn the morgue into a nighttime brothel. However, the two find their new endeavor brings more detractors than just their boss in this ’80s classic comedy.

‘Night Shift’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Night Shift (1982)What do you do in the 1980s when you’re bored? Well if you live in New York City, you head down to the local morgue to get laid. Such is the premise for the 1982 comedy Night Shift.

Henry Winkler plays Chuck Lumley – a mild mannered stockbroker who doesn’t have the backbone to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of big finance. So he takes a job at the local morgue babysitting stiffs. It’s quiet – everyone leaves him alone – and he has plenty of time to read the wall street journal. Then once day, he gets demoted down to the night shift – much to the dismay of his very neurotic and weight-obsessed fiancé, Charlotte, who cant understand why he works there in the first place since he is a financial genius.

On his first night at work, Chuck braves the mean streets of New York as he makes his way to the morgue – constantly going against the grain of human traffic. Once at work he settles into his peaceful, quite routine. The silence is quickly and jarringly broken by the horrendous vocals to Jumping Jack Flash – and in storms Billy “Blaze” Blazejowski (Michael Keaton). Like being shot out of a cannon, Billy Blaze hits Chuck with a barrage of questions, solutions and get-rich quick ideas. Chuck knows that his peaceful nighttime gig will no longer be so peaceful as he’ll have to deal with his new partner night after night.

Arriving home one morning, Chuck finds his neighbor Belinda beaten up and laying in the elevator. Belinda (Shelley Long) is a hooker with a heart of gold – which she needs because she has no breasts. Chuck helps Belinda and the two form a fast friendship, and since they both get home from work at the same time, they start having breakfast together.

Chuck learns that the reason Belinda got beat up is because she no longer has a pimp – and that all her friends are in the same boat. When chuck tells this to Bill, Bill gets a great idea – they have all the space and all those cars down at the morgue – no one is there at night watching them – they could be pimps to Belinda and all her friends, or as Bill likes to refer to it – “LOVE BROKERS.”

Naturally the mild mannered Chuck refuses and blows it off. Then after Belinda gets arrested on Thanksgiving, she calls Chuck to come bail her out. Unfortunately Chuck is in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner with his mom and future in-laws. They all head down to night court for Chuck to bail Belinda out. Belinda is in jail because one of the guys she was with tried to take a refund and she bit him – but who can blame him – lets face it, if you’re going to spend twenty bucks on Shelley Long, you’d better get some change. This doesn’t set well with the family and they all decide to plan out Chuck’s future for him.

Realizing he needs a little change in life, Chuck takes up Bill’s idea and they become “LOVE BROKERS” – running the whole operation out of the morgue at night. They’re raking in loads of cash, but Chuck has a feeling they’re close to getting caught. Never thinking about the consequences, Bill presses forward with Chuck in tow.

One day, Chuck and Belinda find themselves alone in the apartment and Chuck confesses his feelings that he’s hot for her. After a quickie in the bathtub, Chuck shows up at work with a whole new outgoing attitude. He tells Bill that he doesn’t think Belinda will be doing turning any more tricks. To his surprise, Belinda shows up, ready for work.

A stunned Chuck cant believe it. Because as all men know – as soon as you have sex with a woman, her life can never be the same again. So Chuck and Belinda have it out and the two say some things that they cant take back. Belinda storms out to her next trick and Bill has to drive her, leaving Chuck behind.

As Chuck sits along in the dark, the door to his office opens and in walks two other pimps – apparently Chuck and Bill have been cutting in on their action, and they’ve come to exact revenge. Meanwhile Bill is out scouting customers and when he finds a pair of Johns, he brings them back to the morgue to get the encumbered with some ladies. They walk in and see the two pimps having Chuck tied up to a gurney and pumping him full of water. Fortunately the two guys bill brought back are undercover cops and a shootout ensues. The bad guys are caught, and Chuck and Bill are saved. However, their legal troubles are just beginning. They wind up in jail where Chuck’s fiancé Charlotte shows up and dumps him.

The next day they go to see their lawyer who informs them that not only will they not be going to jail – but that since this is an election year and the party in power would just assume this whole thing “go away” – they are going to give them their jobs back. While this is great news to Chuck, Bill decides he wants more. He figures as long as they hold the cards they may as well blackmail the city for a little more. Chuck has had enough and the two get into a fight in the lawyers office where chuck vows he will get his old life back. The two go their separate ways.

Back home, Chuck runs into Belinda in the hallway. She informs him that she is moving out of the building and wont be seeing him anymore. Also that she is taking a new job at a swingers club. Chuck, still doesn’t have the courage to tell Belinda how he really feels and lets her go.

Moments later, Chucks dinner gets delivered – and as usual it’s the wrong order. When the delivery man gets in Chuck’s face, Chuck finally snaps. He chases the delivery guy down and confronts him. Chuck will no longer be everyone’s doormat – he decides to stand up for himself and decides to go get Belinda back. He goes to the new club Belinda is working and to his surprise, Bill is working there as well – Bill has the skill to be a top notch towel boy. When another man starts talking to Belinda, Chuck intervenes – a fight ensues, and Bill tries coming to the rescue. The whole thing ends with Chuck and Bill on the floor, but Chuck finally has the courage to tell Belinda that he loves her. The three of them then escape the club and go out into the freezing streets of New York City where Bill begins a whole new line of get rich quick ideas.

…and that’s Night Shift.

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Warner Bros. released Night Shift on July 30, 1982. Ron Howard directed the film starring Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton, and Shelley Long.

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