Friday, June 17, 2011

Movie Reviewed - Run Ronnie Run!

I'm generally a fan of David Cross. He's got a lot of unique comedic ideas, he does a good job on just about every character he plays, and his stand up is intelligent and scathing. In high school, a friend exposed me to Mr. Show (I didn't have HBO), and while a lot of the jokes were a little over my head, I enjoyed the show a lot.

Run Ronnie Run isn't Mr. Show. It definitely has a hint of Mr. Show, a sniff, but not the full flavor. Part of that is to be expected; movies inevitably have to take on a more focused and conventional story arc. Beyond that, though, it seems to just not have the same irreverent tone that defined Mr. Show. Apparently Cross and Bob Odenkirk disavowed the movie, saying that it wasn't true to their vision, and I believe it. But since I'm just a consumer, I'll try to give you an objective take on the film.

The basic plotline has Cross's character, Ronnie Dobbs, getting rich and famous for constantly getting drunk and leading police on wild goose chases. It's basically how Cops would be if the criminal was the same guy every week. It's a solid premise; I know this because the Mr. Show skit on which this movie was based was one of their most popular ones, and one of my favorites.

And for all of the downplaying and naysaying done by Cross and Odenkirk, the execution isn't bad. It draws on a lot of our stereotypes about country folk, rednecks if you will. There will be plenty of parts where you feel bad for laughing, but you will laugh. And there are several cameos that hit just right. Jeff Goldblum is fantastic, Laura Kightlinger and Jeff Garlin are very good, Scott Thompson is Scott Thompson, and maybe my favorite, Mandy Patinkin brutally critiques his own singing.

In the end, though, it plays more like a collection of kinda funny but jagged scenes rather than a well-constructed full length film. This can work if the laughs are tremendous, but the laughs are just so-so. That means you're left with what basically amounts to an 86 minute episode of Mad TV. And let me tell you, Mad TV isn't something you want to sink 86 minutes into.

The Last Word - It's got its share of chuckles, and a few laugh out loud moments, but overall, it's not really worth the time you have to put into it unless you're a die-hard Mr. Show fan.

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