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Witless Protection

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Witless Protection

Director: Charles Robert Carner
Cast: Cyn Dulay

With the possible exceptions of right-wing radio hosts and left-wing documentary filmmakers, nobody has benefited more from the culture war than Larry The Cable Guy. If this were a just, utopian world where liberals and conservatives could calmly discuss their differences and arrive at solutions everyone could live with, Larry The Cable Guy wouldn't exist. He'd still be known as Dan Whitney, a harmlessly hacky radio DJ treating his small cadre of listeners to hiii-larious zingers about Michael Jackson running day-care centers, between Nickelback and Hinder cuts on the morning zoo-crew shift. But this is not a just, utopian world. In our world, Larry The Cable Guy gets to make fart jokes in sold-out arenas from coast to coast, because his obvious, virulent anti-PC shtick supposedly offends big-city liberal folk, and offending other people is always good for a laugh, even when your terrible, shopworn jokes aren't. With Witless Protection—another lazy, wretched entry in an epically undistinguished filmography—Larry reveals that the joke is ultimately on his fans, and he's yukking it up all the way to the bank.

Larry plays a borderline cognitively disabled police officer who kidnaps government witness Ivana Milicevic because he mistakenly believes that the FBI agents protecting her are drug dealers. If that makes any sense whatsoever, the other mysteries of Witless Protection might be within your grasp. Why, for example, would former MTV blow-up doll Jenny McCarthy date an overweight, obnoxious man with poor hygiene and worse one-liners? (Larry affectionately calls her "big-titted and quick-witted," a description that also partially applies to Larry himself.) And why would a movie released in 2008 feature a scene where the "hero" calls an Arab-American innkeeper "Pamperhead" without an immediate comeuppance? Amazingly, in spite of Larry's potent hatefulness, Witless positions him as a loveable li'l lardbutt who charms his prissy captive with lame racist and sexist witticisms that would make most bigots roll their eyes.

Larry The Cable Guy is a cancerous boil on the ass of comedy, but it's still sort of shocking how little effort he puts into his movies. Surely a man who ranks among the most successful comics working today could attract better collaborators than Witless Protection writer-director Charles Robert Carner, whose past credits consist entirely of TV movies like 1994's One Woman's Courage with Patty Duke and 2002's Christmas Rush (also known as Breakaway) with Dean Cain and Erika Eleniak. Then again, talent like Carner comes cheap. As Larry The Cable Guy's Mephistophelian manager J.P. Williams recently told The Los Angeles Times, his movies always sell enough DVDs to cover their small budgets. Trying to make something decent would mess up a lucrative operation.

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