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Wrong Guy (1997), The
Canadian actor Dave Foley, of "The Kids in the Hall" and "Newsradio" fame, took a stab at writing a feature-length film with The Wrong Guy. He is also the leading man, and plays Nelson Hibbert in this comedy of errors. Nelson gets passed over for the promotion of a lifetime, and, when he returns to protest hours later, finds his boss (Kenneth Welsh) has been murdered. Fearing he will be accused of committing the crime, Nelson goes on the run to Mexico, unaware that the actual killer (Colm Feore) is close by. Jennifer Tilly also appears in this comedy of errors as a narcoleptic farm girl. It is apparent that The Wrong Guy is based on a comedy sketch, and, while there are laughs to be had, the premise is stretched thin at 92 minutes.
Foley is the best part of this film, and is clearly having a ball. There is a gag involving his character's high-pitched scream that plays throughout the film that consistently amuses. Nelson is the kind of idiot perfectly pitched to fall into the spot of chief suspect of a murder he didn't commit. Unknown to Nelson is the fact that the lead detective in the case (David Anthony Higgins) knows he is innocent. The detective watched surveillance footage from the office and saw the real killer leave moments before Nelson arrived. His enthusiasm for the case is nonexistent, however, and Detective Arlen uses his work to cover up the cash he blows on dinner and strippers. Nelson high tails it to Mexico, but expectedly has trouble keeping it together on the way there.
Much of the comedy here revolves around Nelson's detachment from reality. He comes in contact with the real killer, but has no idea that man is being pursued. I caught this movie on TV years ago and thought it felt a little bit like The Fugitive in that the wrongly accused goes on a search for the truth. The similarities pretty much end there, but Foley and Director David Steinberg also display clear Hitchcock influences. The Wrong Guy is not meant to be a serious thriller, and instead plays like a road-trip comedy fueled by its hero's inability to make rational decisions.
At a brief 92 minutes, The Wrong Guy still feels threadbare. The premise does not quite warrant an hour-and-a-half movie, and, by the 60-minute mark my attention was waning. Tilly makes an enjoyable supporting appearance, and the film culminates in several over-the-top action sequences that grant the killer more than nine lives. This is an amusing diversion, and it feels very much like the late 1990s comedy that it is. Fans of Foley will want to check this out, as his talent for sketch comedy is apparent here.
Kino releases The Wrong Guy with a 1.85:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. Although it appears to be from an older scan, the transfer is still pleasing. Fine-object detail is apparent, skin tones are accurate and black levels are steady. I did not notice major print damage, and the grain appears natural.
The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio stereo mix is clear and uncluttered, with good dialogue reproduction and light ambiance. Action effects are reasonably deep but do not muddle dialogue, and the score is appropriately layered. English SDH subtitles are included.
The disc includes a Commentary by Director David Steinberg, Writer/Actor Dave Foley, Writer/Actor David Higgins, and Writer/Actor Jay Kogen, as well as a Theatrical Trailer (1:35/SD).
This comedy of errors benefits from an amusing performance by Canadian actor Dave Foley, but the premise, about a man falsely accused of murder in his own mind, does not quite support a 92-minute movie. Rent It.
William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.