Trigger Happy

You may remember this generically titled film from its notorious (and brief) theatrical release under the name Mad Dog Time: It was under that title that it ended up on several critics' lists of the worst movies of 1996. There are three notable and ponderous things about Mad Dog Time/Trigger Happy: that such an ill-conceived script (by first-timer Larry Bishop, who also directs) could get produced, that it could attract so many stars (Richard Dreyfuss, Jeff Goldblum, Kyle MacLachlan, Ellen Barkin, Gabriel Byrne, Diane Lane, Burt Reynolds, Billy Idol, Richard Pryor, Gregory Hines), and that it could be part of a movie that's terrible in a way a lifetime of watching bad movies can't prepare you for. As an outer-space prologue informs us, it's set in another world, where a Sinatra-song-saturated gangland is populated with people who shoot each other for reasons that are never quite clear. Trigger Happy plays like a Rat Pack-obsessed retro-hipster's vision of a '90s black comedy (Bishop is Joey Bishop's son), and it's a vision involving flaccid witticisms spoken by actors hammily caricaturing everything we've appreciated about their previous performances. Trigger Happy even fails to be bad in an interesting way; it's simply embarrassing and tedious, sapping viewers of what could have been trainwreck-level entertainment. Did you enjoy seeing a quipping Hines get shot? Then you'll love watching a bug-eyed Byrne take a dive 20 minutes later! It's best to take a cue from the alternate-universe setting and imagine that you live in a world where this movie was never made.

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