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Off Beat is a 1986 American comedy film about a young librarian who impersonates a police officer. The film was directed by Michael Dinner, and stars Judge Reinhold, Meg Tilly, and Cleavant Derricks.

Off Beat
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Dinner
Produced byJoe Roth
Harry J. Ufland
Screenplay byMark Medoff
Story byDezsö Magyar
Music byJames Horner
CinematographyCarlo Di Palma
Edited byDede Allen
Angelo Corrao
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
  • April 11, 1986 (1986-04-11)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4,117,061 (USA)



Joe Gower is a likable librarian who glides around his job on roller skates. He has a strict boss, Mr. Pepper, and a good friend who's a cop, Abe Washington.

A mistake he makes inadvertently messes up Washington's undercover work. Joe now owes him a favor, but is unprepared for what Washington wants. A police charity event needs officers to dress in drag, but because Washington wants no part of that, he asks Joe to take his place.

A reluctant Joe decides to go through with the audition, expecting to be so bad that he won't be cast in the show. When he goes there and meets an attractive policewoman, Rachel Wareham, it changes everything. Joe not only does the show, he continues to keep from Rachel the fact that he's not a real cop.

As luck would have it, Joe finds himself in the midst of actual crimes. He encounters criminals, like bank robber Mickey, and is caught in a crossfire as to which would be worse, being exposed as someone impersonating a police officer or being shot by a crook.


Critical reactionEdit

In his review of April 11, 1986, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave Off Beat three-and-a-half stars out of a possible four, describing it as one of the year's best comedies.[1]

Reinhold later said the film was "a little love story they tried to sell as a ... comedy. It wasn't marketed right. It wasn't a Police Academy clone movie, (but) people got the impression that it was. It was a pretty tame movie, by those standards, but I was proud of it."[2]


  1. ^ Ebert, Roger (11 April 1986). ""Off Beat" Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
  2. ^

External linksEdit