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Overall Rating
3

Awesome: 31.11%
Worth A Look: 17.78%
Average: 6.67%
Pretty Bad: 8.89%
Total Crap35.56%

2 reviews, 33 user ratings


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Almost Heroes
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by Rob Gonsalves

"The worst swan song imaginable, worse than Belushi's 'Neighbors.'"
1 stars

'Almost Heroes' should never have seen the light of a projector. Not because it's in bad taste for Warner to make money from Chris Farley's last movie, although the film is unavoidably creepy: There he is in his final performance, guzzling whiskey and shrieking, pasty and dangerously overweight, looking very much like a man who's about to die soon. No, the movie should simply have been pronounced dead along with Farley -- or at least unreleasable. God knows it's unwatchable.

A little of Chris Farley went a long way, as is the case with many Saturday Night Live alumni: their relentless broad shtick gooses a laugh out of you if kept to five-minute increments, but at feature length it becomes obnoxious. Farley made me laugh occasionally on SNL, but one look at the ads for his movies told me exactly what I'd be missing: a fat guy whacking his head on things for ninety minutes. In Almost Heroes, Farley, playing a scruffy mountain guide named Bartholomew Hunt, does a fair amount of witless slapstick. He confronts a vicious eagle; he tumbles down mountains and gets slapped around.

Watching Almost Heroes becomes incredibly sad when you recall that Farley badly wanted to do more substantive work, like a biopic of Fatty Arbuckle. He never got the chance to do better than this, and what's truly shocking about the movie is that it was directed by Christopher Guest, who has done better. His The Big Picture and Waiting for Guffman -- not to mention Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap, which Guest co-wrote as well as co-starred in -- were razor-sharp digs at the pretensions of show business. At Almost Heroes, I sat blinking in the dark, completely baffled. Guest is on autopilot here, halfheartedly staging the crude jokes, and I began to wonder whether it was Farley who dragged his directors down all along.

The script, credited to Mark Nutter, Tom Wolfe (not the Tom Wolfe, I'm sure) and Boyd Hale (a producer on Full House), plays like a low-rent Mel Brooks comedy. It's 1804, and Farley's Bartholomew Hunt is recruited by explorer Leslie Edwards (Matthew Perry) to help him beat Lewis and Clark across the country to the Pacific. The idea has promise; Guest sets up Edwards as a foppish glory-hound who's willing to put his team (including Eugene Levy, whose insanely jealous Frenchman is the movie's only source of laughs) in serious danger so he can steal Lewis and Clark's thunder.

But the movie just uses the plot as a string on which to hang gags -- which is fine if the gags are funny. They aren't. Where was Christopher Guest on the set? The movie has none of his prickly verbal wit or deadpan sight gags. And the eerie subtext makes matters worse. While Farley is carrying on like Falstaff on crank, Matthew Perry stands around looking sickly and drained, his features still gaunt from his much-publicized bout with painkillers. What we're watching isn't a funny fat-thin team -- these are two guys with massive health problems.

The stars' sickness and exhaustion eventually bleed the movie dry. Almost Heroes meanders along, and Kevin Dunn (Godzilla) shows up as a Spanish villain named Hidalgo, a pale copy of Mandy Patinkin's Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. This smells like a project that was dead from the get-go, and Chris Farley's posthumous exertions cast a final pall.

There he is, one last time, knocking himself out for nothing. Poor bastard. He deserved a better swan song; anybody deserves better than this.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/30/06 11:42:51
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User Comments

9/10/09 Johnny Hopkins I hate reading reviews like this, from self-righteous douchebags who think they have the 5 stars
8/30/08 Pliskin Damn hilarious dont see why people dont like it unless they just think there to good for it 5 stars
5/07/08 AmyDJ It's one of those movies that, the more you watch it, the more bearable it gets. 3 stars
2/18/08 Bnorm I thought it was pretty damn funny 4 stars
10/23/07 Mike Carr If you don't think this is funny then you have NO sense of humor. Best/Funniest movie EVER! 5 stars
1/03/06 Anthony Feor Farleys last and almost funniest one 5 stars
8/26/05 ES Nothing compared to his earlier work, damn you Perry you talked Chris into this didn't you! 1 stars
7/15/05 tony It was Farley's last, thats why it was a great movie.I laughed my head off! 5 stars
4/26/05 Jeff Anderson It's a Christopher Guest film, for crying out loud & it's brilliantly funny in my opinion!! 5 stars
10/25/04 UMER farley is hilarious and the movie rocks 4 stars
9/05/04 jmsynth Much better than I expected. The Eagle eggs/bacon bit is classic! 4 stars
9/04/04 Bob Reedyk Easily the best movie ever made. 5 stars
4/24/04 Peter One of the funniest movies I've ever seen, Farley - hilarious! 5 stars
11/28/03 Samuel Very boring, too bad that it was Farley's last movie!! 1 stars
6/09/03 John Smith Funny ass movie. 5 stars
6/09/03 John Aster Habig Come on! Chris Farley and Matthew Perry are a hilarious pair 5 stars
1/23/03 alex it kicked ass! 5 stars
9/09/02 AshFan Chris Farley and Matthew Perry are funny, but, uh... 2 stars
5/16/02 The Velcro Warlock Zany romp that's seriously underrated.Farley goes out with a bang, rest his soul. 4 stars
5/12/02 Charles Tatum Perry- funny. Farley- embarassing. 2 stars
1/24/02 Andrew Carden Not Enough Substance To Work From, and Not Enough Laughs To Hold It Together. 2 stars
10/31/01 Casey Yea, Farely is great, but no one mentioned Matthew Perry! the hottest man in the world! 5 stars
9/13/01 Jake I don't see how this movie is horrid to sit through, I liked it! Funny... 4 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat As funny as "There's Something About Mary"! 5 stars
1/16/01 Sklorsh Farley is the man! 4 stars
9/23/00 Jed No better than billy madison. Farley has done better. 3 stars
5/08/00 Jed Pretty much like "Billy madison" funny half the time while stupid the other half. 3 stars
9/10/99 Jason Kinsey fuck Beetchslarp! Farley kicks ass! Good movie! 4 stars
1/29/99 Scott Stipe I thought Farley was good in his last starring role, Definitly worth a look for Perry, too 4 stars
12/14/98 Binky Genuinely awful. 1 stars
11/17/98 Gray Whitten I saw it for free, and it wasn't funny. Rent Dirty Work for better Farley fun. 1 stars
9/14/98 Chip Taylor I actually enjoyed Farley's last. He was a COMEDY GOD. 5 stars
8/12/98 Beetchslarp You know it bites. It's FARLEY for fucks sake. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-May-1998 (PG-13)
  DVD: 30-Aug-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Jan-1999 (PG)




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