In February, the entire entertainment industry is gearing towards their biggest night of the year: The Oscars. Meanwhile, the rest of the country is bracing for the impact of another Larry the Cable Guy vehicle.
Witless Protection is the number two of a one-two punch that Larry started with last year’s crapheap Delta Farce. In this new film, Larry stretches his acting chops by playing a redneck Mississippi sheriff with a nasally Southern accent. And to add more depth to the role, the character is name… you guess it… Larry.
One day, Larry sees a mysterious and beautiful woman surrounded by black-suited men. Apparently too many episodes of The X-Files melted this guy’s brain, so he decides to save the lady, who is under the witness protection program (and about to be assassinated by a mole in the organization).
This sends Larry and the woman on the run from the authorities. It’s up to Larry to solve the case and save the woman. It deteriorates into a screwball road comedy that makes Cannonball Run look like high art.
A sure-fire sign of a terrible film, aside from the presence of Larry the Cable Guy, is a scene that’s been done before (and often more effectively) in another movie. Witless Protection is riddled with these sight-gags, plot points and poorly delivered jokes.
Case in point, in one scene, he disables a vehicle with a corn cob shoved up a tailpipe. Didn’t Eddie Murphy already do something like that more than 20 years ago in Beverly Hills Cop? I suppose using a corncob instead of a banana is Larry’s way of making the joke more accessible to the NASCAR crowd.
Probably the worst thing about this movie – aside from the overused jokes, the crass and basal humor and the hack dialogue that makes you want to put a shotgun barrel in your mouth – is the fact that the film is actually populated with good actors.
Yes, Eric Roberts is in the movie, and this is no surprise after his brain-damaged dive into the toilet in last year’s D.O.A.: Dead or Alive. He and the slumming Jenny McCarthy deserve a movie like Witless Protection. But other actors like Peter Stormare, Yaphet Kotto and Joe Mantegna are wasted in the movie in wacky roles that are worthy of nothing better than Michael Richards. It’s enough to make a movie buff weep.
Witless Protection is quite possibly the dumbest movie of the year, and possibly the decade. And that’s really saying something for a 2008 that’s already front-loaded with cinematic sewage like Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, First Sunday and Over Her Dead Body.
Even though Witless Protection will be the bane of audiences’ on Oscar weekend, I do wish that Larry the Cable Guy would some day be nominated for a major Hollywood award. After all, him showing up on the red carpet in a sleeveless tuxedo would be about as attractive as Trey Parker and Matt Stone showing up in drag.
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