Night Shift is a surprisingly funny gem that came out of the early 80's and is most likely responsible for jumpstarting the careers of both Ron Howard and Michael Keaton. I'm stunned that this film doesn't have more of a following, as it still holds up and is full of memorable moments (and a brief appearance from a young Kevin Costner as an extra). Of course, what sells the film is the chemistry between Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton, who totally have an 80's Odd Couple kind of relationship.
The entire premise never should have worked. Morgue by day, brothel by night? This film should've gone down as one of the most ludicrous attempts at comedy ever made, but it didn't. Even early on in his career, it was clear that Ron Howard was going to be great at taking a bizarre, outlandish story and making a decent film out of it. Besides, how can any film go wrong when you've got Keaton in a comedic role. His performance as Billy Blazejowski steals the film and shows why Keaton was later chosen to play Beetlejuice.
I always like films that have shy characters evolve into take-charge leaders, which is exactly what happens with Winkler's character Chuck Lumley. His meaningless existence finally has something to live for when he falls for Shelley Long's Belinda, which is a very sweet love story at the heart of a laugh-out-loud comedy. As I said, it's remarkable that Night Shift isn't recognized as a formidable comedy of the 1980's. I think it deserves to be.