Almost Heroes

Handsome Matthew Perry is a 19th-century explorer who wants to beat Lewis & Clark to the Pacific Ocean. Because he's an ineffectual upper-class fop, he recruits big, fat Chris Farley to be his guide. Together, they have to lead their misfit band of low-comic stereotypes across the dangerous and unexplored Pacific Northwest. Obviously, someone thought this an alchemic recipe for comedy gold. Optimistic viewers have been holding out some hope for Almost Heroes because it was directed by talented Christopher Guest, but they will be disappointed; there just isn't that much to this movie. All the comedy goes wrong: The secondary characters aren't even one-dimensional, the gags are telegraphed poorly and executed without enthusiasm, and Matthew Perry is a terrible straight man to Farley's buffoonery. The plot isn't merely stupid, but heartless; viewers aren't given a single reason to watch beyond the anticipation of seeing Farley fall off more scenery. And, perhaps worst of all, it's difficult to take any pleasure from watching Chris Farley try to get laughs by drinking himself blind and running around as if he's about to have a heart attack.

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