Given his reputation for making almost nothing but dumbbell, Z-grade comedies, it would have been a lovely gesture to say something nice about late comedian Chris Farley's final starring role, in the movie "Almost Heroes."
Unfortunately, that would require the majority of film critics around the country to either say nothing about it or lie. In fact, this laughless farce could be the absolute nadir of Farley's career. (That judgment will have to wait until "Dirty Work," which features him in a bit part, is released in June.)Actually, "Almost Heroes" resembles nothing so much as another similarly themed comedy, "Wagons East," the misfire that was the late John Candy's last movie - except that it makes the latter film seem funny by comparison.
Farley stars with Matthew Perry (from TV's "Friends") as Bartholomew Hunt and Leslie Edwards, respectively, two would-be explorers trying to beat the Lewis and Clark expedition through the uncharted American West.
From moment one it seems like a doomed attempt. Edwards (Perry) first makes the mistake of steering the expedition up the Missouri River, and then confronts an angry conquistador (Kevin Dunn). What's more, he and Hunt don't get along (Hunt is a drunken slob, while Edwards is a prissy fop).
None of the hijinks that ensue are even remotely funny. To give you an idea of the film's level of humor, Farley's performance consists of falling out of trees and stumbling down mountains - when he's not wrestling phony eagle props.
Actually, it's difficult to know who to be more embarrassed for here, Farley or his director, Christopher Guest, whose previous film was the hysterical "Waiting for Guffman."
"Almost Heroes" is rated PG-13 for vulgar jokes and gags, violent fist-fights and pratfalls, profanity and brief male and female partial nudity.