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For those of you who can’t get enough of uninspired toilet jokes and the humor of the culturally challenged, Paramount Home Video offers Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector as its entry for worst film of the year. Even the guy with the “Git-R-Done” tattoo on his chest will struggle to sit through this feeble attempt to cash in on the popularity of the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour.”
What a struggle it must have been to find the perfect starring vehicle for redneck comic Larry the Cable Guy’s triumphant entrance onto the silver screen. With such a versatile talent, the options would at first seem limitless. Sharp-edged political satire, light romantic comedy, thoughtful character study – I mean, where do you go first? Faced with the daunting task of finding just the right material for the man who cursed the world with maybe the single most annoying catchphrase of all time, the filmmakers stunningly achieve new comedy lows with Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, now available on DVD. What were you expecting - Larry the Cable Guy: Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist?
To be fair, isn’t it about time the good folks who make restaurants clean and safe for the dining community get their due? There’s been an unfortunate dearth of films about the glamorous and dangerous world of health inspection, and who better to bring it to us than a flatulent hillbilly whose last name apparently really is “the Cable Guy.” Is this brainless debacle the worst atrocity ever committed to celluloid? The answer is no, but it’s pretty dadgum close. Balanced on the flimsiest of premises, the film gives its star plenty of opportunities to showcase his particular brand of gross-out humor, but the fart jokes start to wear thin at, oh, about the ten-minute mark. The threadbare plot somehow sustains itself for another eighty minutes, but not before exhausting the patience of even the most diehard Blue Collar Comedy fan.
Larry plays, you guessed it, a good-old-boy health inspector who frequents family-owned ethnic restaurants and greasy spoon diners as part of his weekly routine. Soon he’s moved up to the big leagues when he’s teamed with an uptight rookie partner (Iris Bahr) and assigned to investigate a series of suspicious food poisoning incidents at the city’s fine dining establishments. It seems that someone is trying to sabotage the competition on the eve of the All City Top Chef contest and Larry’s ball-busting boss (Tom Wilson) wants him to get to the bottom of it. Prime suspects include Joanna Cassidy as the duplicitous Lily Miceli and Joe Pantoliano (that’s right, Joey Pants himself) as the randy Mayor. It’s safe to say that this represents the absolute nadir in both their careers.
The appealing Megyn Price, probably best known from the TV series “Grounded for Life”, is given the unenviable duty of playing Jane, the obligatory love interest, and to her credit does yeoman work despite all the obstacles in her path. Two talented comedic actors, David Koechner (forever immortalized as sportscaster Champ Kind in Anchorman) and Tony Hale (Buster from the regrettably canceled “Arrested Development”) are utterly wasted in minor roles. Koechner plays Donnie, Larry’s mentally challenged neighbor, while Hale plays Jack Dobbs, his wheelchair-bound co-worker, setting the stage for a succession of tepid retard and cripple jokes that fall embarrassingly flat. If only the filmmakers had the wherewithal to let these guys venture off-script and improvise a little, they may have inadvertently stumbled onto some actual humor. But from the opening close-up of his plumber’s crack to the last thunderous fart emanating from that very same place, this is Larry the Cable Guy’s movie, and unfortunately every frame reflects his lowbrow sensibilities. Whether it’s a tired bit about mistaking his partner for a man or constant jokes about his filthy pickup truck or a bizarre dream sequence featuring Kid Rock, it all plays like a rehashed version of Comedy Central’s “Blue Collar TV” with a slightly larger budget. From excess earwax through shower urination and female unibrows, all the way to explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting, every bodily fluid and function is given its moment to shine, but precious few laughs are generated.
Larry is surprisingly at ease in front of the camera and has a genial screen presence, but the inane script and redneck stereotypes create a cultural wasteland from which even the most hardcore “Red Staters” would be clambering to escape. The picture’s one saving grace is that the ubiquitous “Git-R-Done” is uttered only once and at the very end. By that time, my IQ had dipped to such a dangerously low level that its pronouncement barely registered. I grunted something unintelligible, got confused by all the buttons on the remote control, and quietly farted myself to sleep.
Not surprisingly, the disc has little to offer in the way of special features, although I would have taken a perverse pleasure in listening to a director’s commentary for this one. Alas, none was available as all the participants probably wanted to distance themselves from this mess as quickly as possible.
This DVD version contains both fullscreen and widescreen formats with subtitles available in English and Spanish. Audio tracks in English are provided in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. If only the film were available in a Spanish language version – that might actually have been funny. The only extra is a “Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector – Behind the Badge” featurette, which provides a rare glimpse into the subtle craft of making cinematic doo-doo.
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