15 August 2006 | vchimpanzee
Crude, rude and hilarious
At the movie's start, we see a lot of clips (most of them probably fake) from real talk shows, as well as the vulgar Wally Sparks on his own program that gives the FCC and advertisers nightmares. Jerry Springer comments, "Hey, at least this isn't 'The Wally Sparks Show.'"
The network has finally had enough. It's over, says network head Lenny Spencer. Wally convinces Spencer to give him another chance, saying he will clean things up. Spencer reluctantly agrees.
The idea on how to give the show a fresh image comes from Georgia governor Floyd Preston. The conservative family values advocate has written Wally complaining that this is not the sort of thing his son should be watching. Preston has had a change of heart and wants Wally to attend a black-tie event at his mansion. At least that's what the letter says ... Preston's young son Robby watches the show just to annoy his father, and having Wally actually show up will really get him riled.
The results are hilarious. Not entirely unlike "Caddyshack", a superior film where Rodney Dangerfield shocks the country club set with his crude behavior. And things are about to get a whole lot worse. Furthermore, Preston is trying to get re-elected, and any bad publicity could hurt his chances. Still, he needs to learn to care more about his family, and by the end I think he gets that message. Wally also has problems in his relationship with grown son Dean, but I believe this experience may have helped him as well.
This wasn't Dangerfield's best performance, but he was still quite good. Debi Mazar also did a great job as Wally's producer, and David Ogden Stiers did his usual fine job. Despite his fake accent, I was impressed with Glenn Walker Harris as Robby. He reminded me of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in "Home Improvement", though Thomas is better. Lesley-Anne Down also stood out in one scene as a nurse who wasn't a nurse.
Speaking of fake accents, Mark L. Taylor, as Preston's campaign manager, REALLY overdid it.
This is NOT a film that should be seen by kids. If you are offended by Howard Stern's style of humor, it might be best to stay away. Not that the vulgarity was constant, but it was certainly pushing the limits of what TV allows. I don't know how much was edited out.
The movie had plenty of physical comedy in addition to crude jokes. Most of the pratfalls came from poor network lackey Alan Miller, sent by Spencer to follow Wally and gather dirt on him. Some other highlights included the scene right after Gov. Preston showed off his horse, and the Wally Sparks episode featuring American wrestlers and Sumo wrestlers, in which Wally claimed to speak Japanese (though his translation included the word "Toyota"). And the governor's grown daughter Priscilla was not supposed to come home so early.
There was also a scene reminiscent of "Risky Business". You won't believe who dances in underwear. (No, not him).
Celebrities were all over the place. It added realism to see Jay Leno comment on TV about Wally, though I don't know how good the E! commentators were.
Tony Danza drove a cab! I don't remember his "Taxi" character that clearly but he reminded me more of Tony Micelli than Tony Banta.
I've never seen a worse performance from Bob Saget. How did I ever enjoy "Full House" and "Funniest Home Videos" with him?
I enjoyed the big-band music at the black-tie event until Michael Bolton showed up and managed to do a watered-down impression of Ray Charles singing you-know-what. Bolton is often compared to Kenny G, who may have been doing the music for some of the romantic scenes (I won't say who was romantic with whom). At least it was his annoying style.
If you've never heard Devo do anything but "Whip It", stay around for the closing credits and hear them do Beatnik jazz. They're quite good.
I had a good time. I can deal with naughty humor on occasion.