In the vein of Witless Protection comes Baitshop, another production from 2008 that capitalizes on redneck stereotypes. It's essentially a family-friendly comedy, but no one in the family will laugh at it. The straight to video movie feels thrown together, and its two big name stars, Bill Engvall and Billy Ray Cyrus, don't have the charisma to make it appealing.
Engvall plays Bill Dugan, a former professional fisherman who now runs the local bait shop in the lakeside town of Paradise, Florida. His business and his relationships are put in jeopardy as soon as Hot Rod Johnson (Cyrus), the hottest thing in professional bass fishing, comes to town. He opens his own fishing store and starts spending time with Bill's son, Scott (Vincent Martella). To save his store and his home, Bill has to enter the Paradise Lake Invitational tournament and catch bigger bass than Hot Rod to win $50,000.
What has to be said as clearly as possible is that Baitshop is not funny. The simplistic script moves from one awkward moment to the next, none of which inspire an actual laugh. Even with my good attitude, I did not laugh out loud, or even giggle, once during this entire movie. The few slapstick parts are completely cliché and predictable. (Who would guess that someone would fall out of their fishing boat in this movie?) The dialogue, delivered like cardboard by most of the cast, is not clever enough to be humorous. This is all PG-rated, but a comedy that isn't comedic is doomed.
Engvall should get out of the entertainment business as soon as possible. He has absloutley no screen presence, delivering his lines like he just wanted to wrap for the day to go have a Bud. Cyrus' lines require no conviction or skill to deliver, as he is simply the arrogant, shallow superstar, but he performs just as well as Engvall.
Baitshop has a strong Happy Gilmore feel because both films are about a strong personality trying to make a niche sport relevant to the masses. However, while Happy was the good guy in that film, Hot Rod is shown as perverting the purity of bass fishing in this one. The filmmakers, including co-writer Engvall, blew it; the film doesn't really teach you anything about bass fishing. I didn't see any evidence that the filmmakers know any fishing history or are true purists.
The movie is full of errors, the kind that really bug nerds like me. For example, Scott is playing video games, clearly holding an X-Box 360 controller, when his meddling grandfather comes in and hands him a new 360 as a present. What, are Americans supposed to be so stupid that they don't know what an X-Box 360 controller looks like? And then there's the part where Hot Rod informs someone that his boat is equipped with Playstation 1, 2, and 3, but any good nerd knows that the PS2 is backward compatible, making the PSOne superfluous. Also, depending on the PS3 model, it may be compatible with game from both older systems. Boy, is that bad scriptwriting, or what? They mention more about video games than they do about bass.
The movie is 1 hour, 21 minutes sans credits, and it can't end soon enough once you make the mistake of popping it in.
Baitshop looks OK through its mercifully short running time. When you upconvert it, the greens and blues of the environments really jump off the screen. However, it's not the sharpest image you can find; close-ups of people's faces don't reveal every nook and cranny like they do on other, high quality DVD's. I'm not really sure how deep the black levels are because the movie takes place almost entirely in the daylight. There are no artifacts. The 1.78:1 aspect ratio fits widescreen TV's perfectly, and the image is enhanced for widescreen TV's. Overall, the image is just about the highest quality part of this DVD.
The audio on the disc consists of 5.1-surround and 2.0 stereo. Both sound fine, with very little to do besides deliver the redneck audio. The audio gets an extra half star for not having a commentary track, but it's unimpressive overall. The redneck rock blairs through well, and the dialogue is clear, but there isn't anything to invite your friends over for.
There are a few special features on Baitshop, but, mercifully, there is no feature commentary. There are deleted scenes, bloppers, and two featurettes.
The first featurette is called "Opening the Bait Shop." It is, annoyingly, not enhanced for 16x9 TV's because someone made the mistake of shooting the behind-the-scenes stuff in 4x3. It contains on-screen interviews with all of the major cast and is eight minutes long. You're only going to want to watch it if you really love the movie.
The second featurette is called "Another Day in Paradise." This montage is enhanced for widescreen TV's, but it only consists of myriad shot of the lake environment where they shot the film. The shots were mostly taken at dusk, so it's trying to make the place look ideal. I think this feature will appeal to hardcore fishermen.
The bloopers, or "Gag Reel," are almost entertaining. They are enhanced for 16x9 TV's.
The deleted scenes are in one clip, and there are six of them. They are enhanced for widescreen TV's and look just as good as the feature. However, they are just as entertaining as the feature, too. The clip lasts three minutes.
I realize that those of you who are fans of "You Might be a Redneck" jokes and the Blue Collar Comedy Tour might be mad at me for my review of Baitshop. Well, this DVD comes highly recommended for you, but everyone else is definitely going to want to "Skip It." Even with the special features and the relatively high quality of the DVD itself, Baitshop is not worth the entry fee. Forgive me, but this is reel crap.