Film review: Ernest Rides Again

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 16 1993 12:00 a.m. MST

It's been a couple of years since "Ernest Scared Stupid," so you may have forgotten just how grating and irritating Jim Varney's incessant mugging as Ernest P. Worrell can be.

If that's the case, here's "Ernest Rides Again" to remind you.

And if you think a 30-second Cream O' Weber commercial with Ernest tormenting the invisible "Vern" can send you up the wall, try sitting through a 90-minute movie!

"Ernest Rides Again" begins with promise, a funny patriotic hymn about Ernest with lyrics printed at the bottom of the screen under the credits. But soon enough it's the same old stuff, as Ernest, a janitor for a prestigious university, links up with hapless history professor Abner Melon (Ron K. James).

Abner is trying to prove that a portion of England's Crown Jewels were stolen and hidden in a Revolutionary War cannon. And he believes the cannon is located nearby.

So, naturally, Ernest, playing Indiana Jones, stumbles upon the cannon, which leads to Ernest and Abner being chased by an evil entrepreneur (Tom Butler) who wants the jewels for his private museum collection.

There is also a member of Her Majesty's Secret Service in hot pursuit, hoping to retrieve them for crown and country.

The result is a series of very long chases, with Ernest stuck inside the cannon, then on top of it.

Trust me, a little of this goes a long way.

Then, at the end of the film, the irritations are compounded as we see a shameless plug for the next Ernest film, "Ernest Goes to School," scheduled for release in August of '94.

"Ernest Rides Again" is rated PG, and is obviously aimed at small children. Some parents may object, however, to all the gunplay here, though it is, of course, played for laughs.

— "MR. BILL GOES TO WASHINGTON" is a short film featuring the little clay character who spent some years on "Saturday Night Live" getting squashed in various ways by the mean-spirited Sluggo.

Here, he is elected president and Sluggo still shows up to squash him in various ways. And Mr. Bill still yells in his high-pitched falsetto, "Oh, no! He's gonna be mean to me!"

If a little of Ernest goes a long way, this short serves to remind us that a little of Mr. Bill also goes a long way.

"Mr. Bill" does begin, however, with this double-bill's funniest single moment — a spoof of the sound system logo that often precedes movies these days, this one called Real Loud Sound System. Too bad nothing else here is quite as amusing.