If I were to offer anyone advice it would be to watch the first ten minutes of the film next time it's on TV. If the style of humour seems amusing to you, settle in for the ride and you'll probably be laughing out loud a LOT. If it seems dumb and you don't get it, cut your losses, switch right off and do something more productive with your time, that way you'll be spared an experience you won't enjoy. It's really that simple in this case.
Me? I had thought from the trailers it was going to be dumb but it came on TV and I started watching. Straightaway I was laughing at the narration, Payne's excessively 'war-ey' attitude ("The sweet smell of mustard gas" !!) and his voice, which you will also either love or hate. The Apocalypse Now spoof had me hooked... I suspected it was going to be another one of those parody flicks like Scary Movie or Hot Shots, but was pleasantly surprised at the way it panned out. The story is by-the-numbers cliched stuff, but it is essentially played with a straight face - there are no winks to the camera. Yet it still works, because even though they don't let on that they know, you still know that the film-makers are aware how cheesy it all is, and in fact I think they are gently sending up all those "inspirational" feelgood movies, without being offensive towards them. This is achieved in part through Wayans' stand out performance, and the blend of realistic (Payne's behaviour towards his charges is apparently mirrored in some real drill instructors) with ridiculous (a 6 year old military cadet??!!) Also, the director's use of music is inspired - consistently over the top at the right moment (eg "Respect") to heighten the humour.
Standout moments for me were the 'Little Engine Who Could' scene and Payne's "vision" whilst waiting at the station. Already I would like to get a copy of this movie as there were many many quotable one liners I would like to see again - as I said, it has the makings of a cult classic. I would recommend it unreservedly to someone if I knew they liked this kind of humour; to everyone else... 10 minutes is the cut off point!
I should just add that although I was in the R.A.F cadets at school, and have a brother in the British army (a Major, no less!!!) I have not been through the 'boot camp experience', yet still found the movie to be very funny. Bottom line though, I can see it's not for everyone, so use your discretion.
8/10 for me ? /10 for you