As "Saturday Night Live" cast member Chris Kattan's first film vehicle created expressly for him, "Corky Romano" is little more than an excuse to string a line of sketch comedy skits together into a full-length feature. Some work and are very funny, while others fall flatter than Wile E. Coyote. The comedy bits that are successful can be solely attributed to the likable Chris Kattan (2000's "Monkeybone
"), an expert of physical humor. Unfortunately, he can't save the fate of the poorly conceived and written screenplay, by David Garrett and Jason Ward.
Corky Romano (Chris Kattan) is a sweet-natured, goofy, '80s-music-loving veterinarian who has gone through his life completely oblivious to his family's mob involvement. When incriminating proof put forth by the Federal Government points to Pops Romano (Peter Falk), he and his two other sons, illiterate Paul (Peter Berg) and repressed homosexual Peter (Chris Penn), decide that their only chance of escaping charges is to put Corky undercover at the FBI to snatch the evidence.
Directed by first-timer Rob Pritts, "Corky Romano" is the latest effort to take a currently popular comedian, just like Rob Schneider (1999's "Deuce Bigalow
") and Adam Sandler (1996's "Happy Gilmore"), and give him his own movie, with the title being the character's name. "Corky Romano" plays strictly by the book, with a series of would-be funny setpieces and an obligatory love interest (Vinessa Shaw). Shaw was excellent as the understanding prostitute in Stanley Kubrick's masterful 1999 opus, "Eyes Wide Shut
;" "Corky Romano" is a definite step down for her proven acting abilities.
Actually, the talent roster for "Corky Romano" is almost unheard-of for such a minor effort. Veteran actor Peter Falk (2001's "Made") plays Pops Romano; Peter Berg (1997's "Copland") and Chris Penn (1998's "Rush Hour") are Corky's tough-talking brothers, respectively; Richard Roundtree (2001's "Antitrust") is the head of the FBI unit; and Fred Ward (2001's "Summer Catch
") is a crooked mob boss. None of them necessarily embarrass themselves, but they also aren't particularly furthering their careers. The lesser-known Roger Fan (1998's "Rush Hour") and Dave Sheridan (2000's "Scary Movie
") do turn in memorable work as Corky's coworkers at the FBI.
Intermittent laughs are generated in "Corky Romano," such as a scene where Corky accidentally ingests a large amount of cocaine and must speak in front of a group of 8-year-olds, but in order to get to them one must tolerate long, dry stretches of predictable plotting and failed comedy bits. The romance that forms between Kattan and Shaw is forgettable, to say the least. And when the film takes a turn for sentimentality in the last reel, tediousness sets in. Kattan is an undoubtedly funny actor, far funnier than anything presented in "Corky Romano."
©2001 by Dustin Putman