Starring David Spade, Chris Farley, Tim Matheson, Gary Busey




This film is on the Worst of 1996 list.


"Black Sheep"

Opens: Feb. 2, 1996 | Rated: PG-13


With "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Chris Farley and David Spade as stars and the director of "Wayne's World" in charge, "Black Sheep" might sound like a comedy. But for that to be the case it would have to at some point, by definition, induce a laugh.

In the insufferable 87 minutes of "Black Sheep" there is not one solitary line, sight gag, pratfall, sexual reference, plot twist, fat joke or anything else that could even crack a smile.

Based on the fact that last year's "Tommy Boy," the first big screen pairing of Farley and Spade, turned a profit, somebody at Paramount green-lighted this mess. Whoever it was, they must not have seen the finished product or it would have been buried in a cave or released straight to video like "It's Pat," another SNL-related movie that the studio got wise about.

The sad thing is, as a pitch, "Black Sheep" had potential -- which was subsequently squashed by a script predictable and childish to the point of frustration. (The screenplay is by this year's head writer on SNL, and if that isn't a warning sign I don't know what is.)

Tim Matheson plays a Washington state gubernatorial candidate with a pinhead brother (Farley) who stumbles into trouble every time he leaves the house.

Matheson assigns a campaign aide (Spade) to keep his brother far away from the campaign, but the two discover the current governor is playing dirty politics and set out to expose her.

The central problem with "Black Sheep" is that, like all other Lorne Michaels-produced movies, it is a short SNL sketch stretched to an hour and a half with unrelated scenes that drag on forever.

Five minutes of the movie is spent on the boys panicking over a bat in the cabin they're packed away to until after the election. Another 10 minutes is wasted on a lunatic survivalist character played by Gary Busey ("Under Siege").

Even scenes that are vaguely related to the plot have huge holes. In one, Farley embarrasses his brother on stage at an MTV "Rock The Vote" concert, when a campaign worker could have easily had him removed. Later he is framed for arson but never arrested despite several run-ins with the very cops who are looking for him.

It's almost pointless to mention the acting, but suffice to say Spade is the usual glib smartass he played almost exclusively in his tenure on SNL and Farley is, and always has been, a one-trick pony.

In short, the only thing that kept me from walking out on "Black Sheep" (even though it was my job to watch it) was the fact that I was in the middle of a crowded aisle. I've never wanted to run from a theater so much in my life.


1996 All Rights Reserved.





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