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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

DELTA FARCE -- movie review by porfle

(This review originally appeared online at in 2007)

"Who farted?"

And with that, my friends, you get the perfect indicator of the level of humor that's in store for you when you recklessly insert DELTA FARCE (2007) into your DVD player. If you adjust your expectations accordingly, you may enjoy yourself. Otherwise--"well, we warned you." Maybe this film should open with a prologue from Edward Van Sloan, like DRACULA.

This is the first time I've ever seen Larry the Cable Guy, and judging from this, he wasn't really worth David Cross getting all that worked up about. He's just a comic playing the character of a politically-incorrect moron based on a particular regional stereotype, same as Andrew "Dice" Clay. The film opens with Larry as an inept waiter in a greasy-spoon restaurant ("Don't mind the hair--I've been usin' a new conditioner") being informed by his skanky girlfriend that she's pregnant. The joyful Larry cranks up the P.A. system and announces the good news to everyone, then proposes. His girlfriend takes the mike to inform him that the baby isn't his. It's a mildly funny scene, but not "guffaw" funny, which pretty much describes the rest of the film.

Bill Engvall plays Bill, the henpecked married guy who would love to get a divorce but can't because his wife has incriminating pictures of him, and whose vision of paradise is a murder-suicide pact. I like Engvall's hangdog style and low-key delivery, and "Bill" is my favorite character. Rounding out the trio is 97-pound weakling Everett, played by THE CORE's D.J. Qualls. He's a bit of a pervert who lives in a storage facility and likes to expose himself while brandishing a samurai sword. These are our heroes, god help us.

As members of the Army Reserve, these three morons are "weekend warriors", so to speak, but the base that they report to is so lax that their monthly duty is spent getting drunk and eating junk food--until super-scary pitbull D.I. Sgt. Kilgore (our old pal Keith David of THE THING and ARMAGEDDON) shows up to chew their sorry butts out and announce that they're being shipped off to Iraq. At that point, the unsuspecting Everett blows in with a sack full of beer and whips out a long, tubular meat product with the greeting, "Hey, Sarge! Snap into a Slim Jim!" Okay, I laughed. But it wasn't technically a guffaw.

During their flight to Iraq, the plane runs into trouble and the pilot is forced to dump their cargo, including a jeep that Larry, Bill, and Everett have crawled into for some shut-eye. Sgt. Kilgore gets tangled up in some rope and is also ejected. Thus, our heroes parachute into danger and find themselves in the middle of the Iraqi desert, ready to engage the enemy. They find Sgt. Kilgore, declare him dead, and bury him. Trouble is, he isn't dead. And on top of that, they aren't in Iraq--they're in Mexico.

Eventually, the three warriors happen upon a small village that is being pillaged and terrorized by bandits. When they decide to use their superior military training and resources to help the villagers, DELTA FARCE surprisingly becomes a deft modern-day retelling of Akira Kurasawa's classic THE SEVEN SAMURAI as filtered through John Sturges' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

Just kidding. It's more like a variation of THE THREE AMIGOS as filtered through the Three Stooges, sprinkled with leftover material from Jeff Foxworthy's act and shot on the Monogram backlot. Robert Rodriguez stock player Danny Trejo seems to be having a great time playing the bandit leader, Carlos Santana (people keep asking him, "Carlos Santana, the guitar player?" and he angrily retorts, "No! I'm the real Carlos Santana!") The grateful villagers fall in love with Larry, Bill, and Everett (well, maybe not Everett) and I enjoyed seeing them basking in the adoration. For sheer novelty value, I also enjoyed seeing Keith David in a red, see-through nightie, which actually happens in this movie. Really, I never thought I'd ever see that particular thing.

Other memorable moments: Danny Trejo belting out a karaoke version of "I Will Survive"; Keith David's torture by the bandits, which consists of him being forced to participate in a duet of "I Got You, Babe" with a fat guy in drag; a feel-good ending with "where are they now?" updates; and deleted shots, bloopers, and a cool version of "Oye Como Va" by Los Lonely Boys during the closing credits. And just when I thought the movie was starting to drag towards the end, it suddenly got its second wind and stayed pretty entertaining right up to the fade-out.

I realize that I'm supposed to hate this movie, and I could've hated it if I tried, but I didn't find it nearly as backward and objectionable as some tacky, painfully unfunny load of cheap smut like PORKY'S. (Doesn't mean I'm gonna go out and start buying "Larry the Cable Guy" DVDs, though.) It's just a long, good-naturedly dumb joke about some likably idiotic rednecks and their unlikely adventures in Mexico. As Douglas Adams might've said, it's "mostly harmless." I might even have guffawed a time or two if I'd been on drugs when I watched it.

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