Film review: 'Suits' tries hard but falls short

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 7 2006 12:02 p.m. MST

SUITS ON THE LOOSE — ** — Brandon Beemer, Ty Hodges, Allison Lange; rated PG (vulgarity, violence, mild profanity, brief drugs).

To its credit, "Suits on the Loose" tries a little harder than most LDS comedies, which have settled into a formulaic easy-route convention.

This predictable flat-footed comedy at least tries hard to earn some laughs — so hard that you can practically see beads of perspiration . . . or is that flop sweat? . . . on the celluloid.

Unfortunately, for all that effort, the film perhaps tries a bit too hard for its own good, as the filmmakers also try to steer a few scenes in a comic direction when they shouldn't. And it gets all gooey and sentimental at the end when it shouldn't.

Television actors Brandon Beemer ("General Hospital") and Ty Hodges ("Even Stevens") star as Justin and Ty, two pals who have escaped from a teen-rehabilitation camp located in the Mojave Desert. When their stolen vehicle breaks down, they encounter naive LDS missionaries Elder Talbot (Shaun Weiss) and Elder Johnson (Jason Winer) and swipe their vehicle and their identities.

Ironically, they wind up in the town of New Harmony, the missionaries' intended destination, where the local bishop (Robert Prosky) puts them to work. Ty tries to steal enough money to get out of town, but Justin finds himself attracted to Sarah (Allison Lange), the young owner of a diner who has a heart of gold.

Screenwriter/director Rodney Henson does get some use out of television veterans Prosky, Charles Napier, Reginald VelJohnson and Fred Dryer, who appear in supporting roles. And Hodges and Lange do demonstrate some screen presence.

Unfortunately, the identity confusion concept isn't as funny as Henson apparently thought it was, and there are no big laughs to be had from this nonsense. In particular, the two missionary characters are unfunny, stereotyped caricatures — especially the way Weiss and Winer play them.

"Suits on the Loose" is rated PG for some crude humor and references to bodily functions, some violence (including fisticuffs), scattered use of mild profanity (mostly religiously based) and some brief drug content (references). Running time: 93 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com