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Hoo boy, there's just nothing worse than a comedy movie this bad. Bad drama can give you a lot of laughs, and bad genre films can entertain through sheer force of ineptitude -- but a worthless comedy is a chore of epic proportions.
Let's use, oh I don't know, this movie you've never heard of called Daddy Who? as an example. (It's been sitting on a shelf somewhere for over five years with the title of Kimberly; why someone chose to rename it, nay, even release it, is anybody's guess.) It's not enough for me to say that Daddy Who? contains precisely zero in the laugh department, that the plot is stunningly stupid (yet sincerely divulged), and that the actors range from humorously untalented to overwhelmingly obnoxious ... I'll go as far as to say that this might be one of the worst comedies I've ever seen. It's bad enough for a chintzy comedy to be entirely bereft of laughs ... but to pile on an oily sheen of smugness and faux-sincerity? Yuck.
The plot is about four college buddies who love to row. A new girl shows up at school and offers to teach the boys how they can suck less while rowing. The guys make a pact that none of them will date the girl. And the girl ... actually schtups all four of them! And then she gets pregnant, thereby creating a dramatic arc that asks us to care about the problems of one amazing slut. Aside from the fact that she nails all four dorks in one weekend, the gal seems to be a perfectly sweet, smart, and well-rounded young woman. Too bad she can't keep her legs closed.
The girl is Kimberly, as played by that actress who won our hearts for a brief period of time before vanishing into the netherworld of low-budget garbage heaps. She's one Gabrielle Anwar, so lovely and charming in Scent of a Woman -- and now neck-deep in a sub-level of the movie industry that commands her to star in titles like Flying Virus, Boardheads, and Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal. Here's hoping Gabby makes a return to the multiplexes some time soon. She might not be an Oscar-caliber performer, but she's a damn sight more talented than dead-eyed breast-zombies like Jessica Alba and Shannon Elizabeth.
Another familiar face to be found within the dire depths of Daddy Who? is Mr. Sean Astin. And while you won't ever hear me knock the guy who played Samwise Gamgee and the Head Goonie, one can just safely assume that Mr. Astin does not put Daddy Who? anywhere near the top of his resume. He walks through the movie with a sheepish indifference, as if he's well aware of the junk he's mired in. I felt some sympathy for the guy.
The trio of remaining horny oarsmen are played by Jason Lewis (former model turned actor who's been discussed as "the guy who will play He-Man"), Robert Mailhouse (last seen in a Murder, She Wrote TV movie), and Chris Rydell (whom you might recognize from Trauma and Flesh and Bone ... but probably not). And if you're paying a lot closer attention than you ought to, you might notice some background faces belonging to Molly Ringwald, Lainie Kazan, and Jim Gaffigan -- none of whom are able to make one jovial dent in this stunningly leaden farce.
Not content to just create a romantic comedy this unwittingly dense, writer/director Frederic Golchan opts to also sprinkle a lot of dick jokes and audible farts into the mix, thereby creating an experience that's not only biblically charmless, but also desperately obnoxious. I simply cannot comprehend who this movie was made for. Certainly not children, adults, or slutty rowing women. Or pets. Oh, or plants.
The bulk of Daddy Who? consists of "frenzied papa" material that could best be described as a pre-natal Three Men and a Baby -- only Three Men and a Baby is a beacon of Tootsie-like wit in comparison to Daddy Who? It's as if someone turned to a different someone and said "Know what would make for a good movie? If a girl fucked four guys and then nobody knew who the father was! That's hilarious!"
And then someone went out and made that movie. And then six full years after production wrapped, someone actually bothered to release the thing.
Video: The full frame transfer is surprisingly clean and fairly solid all around, all thing considered. But you can put a whole lot of dog poop into a really pretty box if you wanted to.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround or 2.0 Stereo. Wonderful.
Extras: Just a trio of trailers for Daddy Who?, Bitter Harvest, and Sorted.
Picture one of the lamest dirty jokes you've ever heard, cover it with a flimsy sheen of unconvincing romantical blathering, and let the thing run on for an interminable 110 minutes. Better yet, don't. I watched the thing because I'm a professional. Do not attempt this at home, kids.