Touchstone’s advertising campaign for Chris Kattan’s newest movie poses the question, “Who is Corky Romano?” And though I hate to sound philosophical, the movie itself begs the question, “Why should we care?” It is by no means hilarious, the characters are one-dimensional, and there are no ridiculously crazy plot twists. Furthermore, there is no real apparent thought behind the movie, the punch lines or the characters.
So who is Corky Romano? As played by “Saturday Night Live’s” Kattan, Corky is an aspiring veterinarian who zips down the street in a yellow sports car embellished with the welcoming bumper sticker, “Free hugs, one size fits all.” Though not moronic by any measure, Corky lacks common sense and is naive to the ways of the world. His innocence is cute, and his incessant grin begs you to just run up and pinch his little cheeks. And aside from the standard problem of trying to put an overfed, bloated cat to sleep, things are going well for him, until he recieves a phone call from his estranged family. He quickly finds out that not only is his father sick, but apparently, the family business doesn’t involve tile or stucco—it involves running numbers and other unmentioned mafia-type things. For his entire life, he has been oblivious to the fact that his father (Peter Falk, “Columbo”) is the leader of an underground crime ring.
Corky also learns that his father is being indicted by a grand jury on counts of murder and tax evasion. So where does Corky come into play? Pete and Paul (Peter Berg of “Chicago Hope,” and Chris Penn of Rush Hour), Corky’s brothers, have come up with an elaborate and ingenious scheme. They plan to infiltrate the FBI and steal the evidence against Papa Romano, and they need Corky to be the sacrificial lamb. While this crazy plot seems enough with regard to typical comedies, Corky Romano takes it a step further. In order to pull their plan off, Pete and Paul intimidate a computer hacker into making Corky a new identity with an FBI caliber resume. After the hacker is done with Corky, he becomes Agent Pissant, super agent, and is launched into his brothers’ crazy scheme.
Besides Kattan, who is his usual zany self, a lot of the cast members aren’t especially known for their comedic work, particularly Richard Roundtree. He’s Shaft, not an FBI agent! So why was his stalwart and stiff presence so comical?
My advice: Don’t go into this movie expecting anything close to a stupendous work of comedic art. This is not a movie from which you’ll be taking quotes, memorizing them and using them way too frequently. However, while it’s a stupid movie, it’s one of the better stupid movies. Some of the punch lines, though far from innovative, are actually successful in eliciting a chuckle, or even, at worst, a loud “ha!” Either way, you will leave the theater with a feeling of bewilderment—but not from the ingenuity of the plot (for there was none) nor from the excellence of the cast’s acting (which are mediocre at best). You’re bewildered because you’re wondering what exactly the point was behind Corky Romano. In fact, don’t go to the theater at all. Such a pointless and meaningless movie is better suited for rental.