Thursday, July 31, 2014

#68 Car 54 Where Are You? (Wes)

Car 54 Where Are You?
As I said in my review of The Avengers, TV show adaptions are generally really good, or shockingly bad. For our second movie based on a tv show we had to watch a film based on a show I’ve never watched before, Car 54 Where Are You? Perhaps going into a movie with no pre-conceptions as to how it should be would make this more enjoyable. Well perhaps it would if the film wasn’t so bloody awful.
Officer Gunther Toody (David Johansen), who is brash and incompetent is partnered with Officer Francis Muldoon (John C. McGinley), who is stiff and officious, after Toody’s partner (played by Al Lewis) retires. This coincides with the launch of the new initiative MAD COPP (Maximum Automated Deployment for Criminal Operations Police Procededures). When Police Captain Dave Anderson (Nipsy Russel), is told that he must provide protection for mob witness Herbert Horst (Jeremy Piven) Toody and Muldoon are assigned the job. At this point I would say “and hilarity ensues”, but I was told that every time I lie God kills a puppy, and if I actually said that I expect God would feel so aggrieved at the size of the lie he’d probably rain hellfire down upon Battersea Dog’s Home just to make sure his point was made.

The film starts with Toody asleep in his car dreaming that he’s singing a song whilst on patrol and features a rapping cartoon canary that looks like it was designed by a twelve year old. Within a minute of the film starting I already loathed it, which has to be a new record for me. The only way I could hate a movie more quickly would be if I didn’t know what I was about to watch and the opening credits immediately opened with “Starring Ben Affleck, Pauline Quirke and directed by George Lucas”.
Within those opening minutes, I was introduced to what would become the singular most irritating thing about this movie, the amount of annoying voices that everyone seems to think are hilarious. This is a movie where Fran Drescher (who plays Velma Velour) actually doesn’t have the most irritating voice. After seeing her in The Nanny I would have never believed this possible, but she seems to have toned down both her accent and her volume in this movie (if this was supposed to be a joke I’d appreciate it if someone could let me know).

The most annoying voice seems to be a competition between David Johansen and Rosie O Donnell (who plays Lucille Toody). Johansen has the most exaggerated Brooklyn accent I’ve ever heard. It’s like watching an entire movie of the trucker from Futurama singing for a death metal band that only cover whale songs (the large aquatic mammal, not the 90s band). Because he’s the main star he’s voice automatically becomes the most abhorrent to you, but Rosie irritates equally in her screen time. In fact if Gilbert Gottfried was cast as Toody and Joe Pasquale put on a wig and played Lucille it would be less irritating.
But it isn’t just David Johansen’s voice that makes you hate him, it’s his ridiculous, over exaggerated facial expressions. His constant gurning actually made me forgive Robin Williams for everything he’s done since Aladdin. It’s actually so bad that he makes Lee Evans look funny in comparison (although he still holds the crown for worst accent in a movie ever for his American accent in There’s Something About Mary). 

As for the other actors, I usually like John C. McGinley in whatever I see him in, but he was just a bit crap in this movie. This is also now his second appearance in this list (the first was Highlander 2: The Quickening), which makes me question whether or not he ever bothers to read the scripts of the films he goes for. I did think it was a nice touch to get Nipsy Russell playing Captain Anderson, as his first ever role was as Officer Anderson in the original show, so it does show that at least one person involved in the production of this travesty was actually paying attention.
As I wrote this review I watched an episode of the original tv show, and whilst I only found it mildly amusing, I could see why it would have been loved by millions of people who grew up with it. This movie really didn’t seem to have any relation to it, except for the characters names. The episode I watched had quite a gentle humour, that was witty and yet still quite silly. The movie missed that completely by using nothing but crude slapstick and tired jokes that we’ve all seen time and time again.

 Trying to spot the funny joke in this film is like trying to find Wally (or Waldo for our American readers) in a barber pole warehouse. It’s seemingly impossible. Sure you can see the jokes. You can see where the writers tried to put them, in fact they may as well flash JOKE up on the screen in a big Batman style comic book punch caption every time they attempt to make you laugh, but they just aren’t funny. 
When you start to wish you were watching the worn-out, predictable buffoonery of the Police Academy team in any of the sequels after the Police Academy 3: Back in Training (a guilty pleasure, but I actually quite like the first two sequels), the you know the movie is bad. When a film makes Bad Lieutenant or LA Confidential look funny in comparison then you know there’s something hideously wrong with the movie. The only time I even smiled was when Rosie O Donnel gets thrown into a dumpster, that’s the point when I truly started to despair that the movie ever got made in the first place (note: The correct response to seeing Rosie O’Donnel being thrown into a dumpster is at the very least a small cheer. To only smile at this means that you’ve been brought so low that you can’t even truly enjoy the small things in life).

This movie neither works as a comedy or as homage to its original source material. Johansen’s awful performance makes you wish that spiders would lay eggs in your ears so the hatching spiderlings running about on your eardrum would drown out the sound of his voice. This truly unfunny movie really should be avoided by all but the most sadistic of people, and even then they should make sure that everyone is aware of the safety word (may I suggest “ha ha ha” as no-one would believe you’d be actually finding this funny).