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2010 | 2009 | 1998

1 item from 1998

Film review: 'Almost Heroes'

1 June 1998 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

"Almost Heroes", which already bears the distinction of being the late Chris Farley's final starring role, commits the cardinal sin of comedies.

It's not funny.

Telling the wayward tale of two path-forging explorers of the American West who weren't Lewis and Clark, this ersatz Monty Python exercise desperately attempts to reproduce the offhanded flippancy of that famed British troupe with resoundingly hollow results.

While the blustery comic is teamed with Matthew Perry, the picture will no doubt attract rabid Farley fans rather than "Friends" fans -- and even they will be turned off by the endless chatter that comes with precious little payoff.

Farley, in a somewhat more subdued turn than usual, is nonetheless the best thing about "Almost Heroes", which tells the story of bumbling frontiersmen Bartholomew Hunt (the Big Guy) and the foppish Leslie Edwards (Perry) in their efforts to beat Lewis and Clark to the Pacific Ocean in 1804.

Assembling a motley crew -- including wild-eyed French explorer Guy Fontenot (an amusing Eugene Levy) and his beauteous native wife Shaquinna (Lisa Barbuscia) -- Edwards and his trusty tracker Hunt push forward into the New World through the untamed wilds, encountering noble Indian warriors and not-so-noble Spanish conquistadors led by the uppity but well-coiffed Hidalgo (Kevin Dunn).

As Farley's partner in path-finding, Perry makes for a poor John Cleese, and while he seems to be enjoying himself, the performance is a flimsy one. It needed to be bumped up several degrees in the pomposity department.

Although he's underserved by the spotty script, director Christopher Guest can't seem to do much with it. It's doubly disappointing given the sharp satirical touch he showed with "Waiting for Guffman" and "The Big Picture". Most of the smirky setups land with an thud, leaving gaping holes where the laughter should go.


Warner Bros.

Turner Pictures presents

a Di Novi Pictures production

Director: Christopher Guest

Producer: Denise Di Novi

Screenwriters: Mark Nutter & Tom Wolfe &

Boyd Hale

Directors of photography: Adam Kimmel,

Kenneth MacMillan

Production designer: Joseph Garrity

Editor: Ronald Roose

Costume designer: Durinda Wood

Music: Jeffrey CJ Vanston



Bartholomew Hunt: Chris Farley

Leslie Edwards: Matthew Perry

Guy Fontenot: Eugene Levy

Hidalgo: Kevin Dunn

Jonah: Bokeem Woodbine

Shaquinna: Lisa Barbuscia

Narrator: Harry Shearer

Running time -- 91 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13


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2010 | 2009 | 1998

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