Larry The Cable Guy is a human Rorschach blot. How audiences respond to him tends to say something about how they perceive class, race, comedy, and popular culture. When you look at Larry, what do you see? A noble, down-to-earth, working-class hero, or the personification of loathsome white trash? Truth-telling populist hero or pandering phony? Larry can be a divisive figure. But with his first solo cinematic vehicle, he provides common ground for people across all social and political strata, who will probably agree that Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector isn't worth the celluloid it's printed on.
In spite of its title, Health Inspector isn't a Nickel And Dimed-like exposé in which a wealthy comedian goes undercover as both a health inspector and a cable-delivery man to see how hard it is to get by on an honest day's labor. Instead, it's a cynical hicksploitation romp in which Larry plays an outrageous health inspector who lives by his own rules. He's constantly pissing off his glowering, angry boss (Thomas Wilson) with his irreverent, free-spirited ways, but Wilson can't argue with Larry's results, even as he saddles his overachieving employee with a wildly mismatched partner. Sound familiar? But if there's humor to be gleaned from shifting all the mismatched buddy-cop movie clichés onto the health-inspection field, the movie sure doesn't find it.
And though Mr. Git-R-Done isn't just the name above the title, but the name in the title, a starring role in what can only generously be considered a movie doesn't automatically make him a leading man. It'd be tempting to call Larry the Ernest of his generation, but that'd be a grave insult to Jim Varney's enduring legacy. Compared to Larry—a grating, baby-faced butterball with all the magnetism and charisma of an Applebee's night manager—Varney was the second coming of Jimmy Stewart. Laughing at this turkey might not necessarily make you a redneck, but it sure does make you easily amused.