Last year's "Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector" was a no-brainer comedic skid mark. It didn't take any energy to loathe it, and the film didn't exactly court quality with a screenplay written on cocktail napkins in magic marker and its ten-cent production polish. "Delta Farce" is the follow-up, and while I could say the quality of Larry's feature film work has improved, that isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the picture. It's like saying drowning is more welcome than being set on fire.
Larry (Larry The Cable Guy), Bill (Bill Engvall), and Everett (DJ Qualls) are three Army reservists lacking every conceivable skill a good soldier should have. On their way to the battlefields of Iraq, led by their bellowing commanding officer (Keith David), the trio fall asleep on the plane, accidentally jettison themselves, and wake up in the middle of a desert...in Mexico. Stuck in a small village, the military stooges need to screw up their courage when a group of Mexican outlaws, led by Carlos Santana (Danny Trejo), come by looking for trouble.
Director (yes, these movies are actually directed by someone) C.B. Harding has a long history with the "Blue Collar" brand, so it makes sense that "Farce" is more secure with its redneck soufflé and passion for all things sleeveless. Unlike "Health Inspector," "Farce" is significantly more harmless in its desire to entertain and blessedly dials down the crude humor to a dull roar - I only counted one single flatulence gag. Hooray?
Now, that's not saying what remains in the film is a comedy jackpot - far from it. "Farce" plays to its core demographic with blunt force, slinging numerous references to Hooters restaurants, NASCAR, chewing tobacco remnants, country music, and beef jerky snacks that will surely tickle those already heavily invested in this subculture. I just fail to understand where the actual comedy comes from this. To call it a celebration of ignorance is too harsh and mean-spirited on my part, but recognizing it as some sort of cultural passport frightens me even more.
As a cross between "Stripes" and "Three Amigos," "Farce" is more involving an endeavor when it plays loose with racial/cultural/sexual stereotypes; the material being a comedy common ground to either love or loathe, but at least a recognizable element in an increasingly baffling "Git-R-Done" screenplay. The "Mexico" sequences (it looks more Universal Backlot to me) are fast paced enough, having fun screwing around with military conventions and weaponry, and giving plenty for the cast to do besides play river-rock stupid. I won't go on record saying I enjoyed the performances, but when the film was in a full sprint, I could glimpse the appeal of Larry and Engvall when I squinted hard enough. Qualls is more of a half-realized sight gag that is never seen to fruition, though I was amused that the screenwriters bravely programmed Everett's sexual deviancy into his screen introduction.
I'll cautiously admit that I did laugh out-loud once during "Delta Farce," and that's more than amazing for a film this shoddy in production value and limited in comedic scale. It's not a good film by any means, but it shows improvement for Larry and his sweaty scent of humor; further proof miracles can still occur on the silver screen.
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