Black Sheep

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Chris Farley will be missed and that’s no lie. Like John Belushi before him, his sheer girth practically demanded physical humor for a choice of living (as an actor, anyway). With his success in "Tommy Boy" along with his partner-in-crime, David Spade another teaming between the two was inevitable. I believe that if Farley had not died, we’d have seen a few more of these movies by now, but that’s purely speculation. A twist on what made their previous movie such a big success, we find more of the same with their outing in "Black Sheep". Ironically enough, it’s Tim Matheson who played the immortal role of "Otter" in Animal House opposite John Belushi. Coincidence? I think not… While I enjoyed "Tommy Boy" more, this has it’s moments, so let’s see what it’s all about.

Mike Donnelley (Chris Farley) and his brother Al (Tim Matheson) are doing ok. Al is running for Governor of the great state of Washington, but it’s Mike who is an embarrassment to the family name. Loyal underling Steve Dodds (David Spade) volunteers to help out with the campaign in order to gain favor with Al and hopefully be appointed a cushy position when and if Al is elected. But it’s Steve’s luck that teams him with Mike and the two go into their old schtick. It works. Again. It’s no joke or coincidence that the film hinges on Farley’s physical humor. If he’s getting chased by dogs or running a van into an old movie theater, it’s all the same. Trying just a bit too hard, Mike finally manages to even alienate his brother who has stuck up for him for so many years. Put on a bogus mission, the rest of the story tries to tell how they can rebuild and, of course, win the election.

Regardless of your opinions of Chris Farley, you have to admit that he was a great entertainer. Yes, his size pretty much pigeon-holed him into a specific genre of slapstick comedy, but he knew how to make it work. From his early days on Saturday Night Live, he was one of many that made the successful leap from sketch comedy to the big screen (nowadays, only a few years later, it seems a movie deal is a part of every SNL cast member’s contract). There will likely be more on screen duos like Farley and Spade, unfortunately for us, Farley’s life was cut drastically short. He made us laugh and in what I like to think his last good movie (this one), he was just heading to the top of his game. For those of you who liked "Tommy Boy" this is more of the same. Paramount has provided another featureless disc, so only true fans will want to pick this one up.

Video: How does it look?

Just like it’s predecessor, "Tommy Boy", this sports a pretty good-looking 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. Colors are bright and vivid and we do get to see some of the scenic landscape of the Pacific Northwest. The hues do tend to look a bit oversaturated, like everyone has a sunburn or something, but that could just be me. The level of detail is excellent and I noticed only the slightest trace of edge enhancement. It’s hard to believe that this movie is almost 7 years old now, but we are treated with a good transfer here; much better than the LaserDisc.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby Digital 5.0 track is included, the lack of the .1 channel has little effect on the overall strength of the soundtrack. Then again my subwoofer isn’t that big, so I’m not sure how much impact that one channel would impact the movie. Still, as one might imagine, the explosions, clunks and punches thrown during the film do sound pretty good in this soundtrack. Dialogue is clean and relatively free of any distortion. It’s not the best out there, but it certainly isn’t the worst either. In any case, it’s a good mix and viewers won’t be disappointed. There’s a Dolby Surround Option and a French language track should that interest you.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Another featureless Paramount disc, not even a trailer. Even "Tommy Boy" had a few featurettes!

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