If home videos of people bonking their heads, unwittingly setting their pants afire, and tumbling down large slopes into great pools of waters occasionally strike you as funny, then America's Funniest Home Videos - Nincompoops & Boneheads is for you. All others need not apply. Eighty minutes worth of sometimes funny amateur video clips and mostly unfunny, sometimes excruciating filler, this two-episode set from the long-running ABC series is good for cheap, easy laughs.
The first show, "Nincompoop-A-Rama," is hosted by Tom Bergeron and is more than five years old, dating back to March 4, 2001. The second episode, "Salute to Boneheads," dates back even further, having originally aired on January 11, 1996. It's hosted by a grinning but openly contemptuous Bob "I don't want to be here" Saget, who at one point actually makes fun of the studio audience's Pavlovian applause. Maybe there's something admirably subversive about Saget; he's like the Eddie Haskell of stand-up, all smiles and nice-young-man suburban charm yet almost openly disdainful of the very hand that feeds him.
And that's it. Home video clips, comedy shtick filler. The home video clips, some of which are repeated from other Shout! Factory / AFV releases, include barfing infants, stupid yacht captains, inept magicians who set their assistants on fire - and a lot of groins getting pounded with baseball bats, pinata sticks, angry toddlers and the like.
Highlights include overweight women who can't get out of dresses and playground swings, and two bozos trying to unload an ATV onto a dock without first considering Newton's Second Law of Motion. One good bit has a father videotaping his hyped-up daughter doing cartwheels. She's screaming "Watch me! Watch me!" but he's soon distracted by a pair of gorgeous babes in bikinis. "I'm watching," assures the father, "Boy, am I watching!"
The DVD's cover, a guy in a shopping cart sailing down a hill, suggests something more akin to Jackass or at least Maximum Exposure. But America's Funniest Home Videos is much too innocuous for that kind of crass, edgy cynicism.
Video & Audio
America's Funniest Home Videos - Nincompoops & Boneheads is presented in its original full-frame format, with both shows are up to the technical standards of their eras. There are no alternate audio or subtitle options, but the program is close-captioned. Likewise, there are no Extra Features
America's Funniest Home Videos - Nincompoops & Boneheads is recommended to those prowling the video store five minutes before closing time and desperately looking for some easy, harmless laughs, or maybe those needing a break from the pressures of work or homework.
Stuart Galbraith IV is a Kyoto-based film historian whose work includes The Emperor and the Wolf - The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune and Taschen's forthcoming Cinema Nippon. Visit Stuart's Cine Blogarama here.