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1 item from 1997

Film review: 'McHale's Navy'

21 April 1997 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Taking its cue, but virtually nothing else, from the '60s TV series of the same name, "Mc-Hale's Navy" is one botch of a movie.

An ill-fitting blend of action and comedy, this poorly written and assembled Tom Arnold vehicle goes so wrong so quickly that it's a wonder Universal bothered with the expense of a theatrical launch when a direct-to-video send-off would have made more sense.

Playing the part originally as-signed to Ernest Borgnine (who makes a few brief appearances here), Arnold is Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale, a retired Navy man turned entrepreneur who returns to his post in San Ysidro, Calif., when the maniacal East German Maj. Vladakov (Tim Curry) invades a neighboring island.

Back in action, McHale and his motley crew are determined to take Vladakov down while having to answer to the newly assigned Capt. Wallace Binghampton (Dean Stockwell) and the icy Lt. Penelope Carpenter (Debra Messing).

Arnold is miscast as the lovable, devil-may-care McHale, while the rest of the cast all appear to be off doing their own thing (not that they've been given much to work with) -- from Curry's incessant eye-rolling to Stockwell's curious Maxwell Smart impression.

Elsewhere, there's David Alan Grier as groveling Ensign Charles Parker (the part played by Tim Conway on the old series) and Tommy Chong, who generates a few of the picture's rare laughs as a Cuban black marketeer.

Working from a shell of a script, director Bryan Spicer ("Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie") applies a haphazard approach to the comedy and the constant barrage of pyrotechnics that seems to belong in another picture. On the other hand, if the explosions are intended to distract attention from the waterlogged state of this enterprise, they are indeed a most welcome diversion.


Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

and the Bubble Factory present

A Sheinberg production

A Bryan Spicer Film

Director Bryan Spicer

Screenwriter Peter Crabbe

Story Peter Crabbe and Andy Rose

Producers Sid, Bill and Jon Sheinberg

Executive producers Lance Hool, Perry Katz

Director of photography Buzz Feitshans IV

Production designer Gene Rudolf

Editor Russell Denove

Costume designer Michael T. Boyd

Music Dennis McCarthy



Lt. Cmdr. McHale Tom Arnold

Maj. Vladakov Tim Curry

Capt. Binghampton Dean Stockwell

Ensign Charles T. Parker David Alan Grier

Lt. Penelope Carpenter Debra Messing

Happy French Stewart

Virgil Bruce Campbell

Cobra Ernest Borgnine

Armando/Ernesto Tommy Chong

Running time -- 109 minutes

MPAA rating: PG


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