Corky Romano

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Lorne Michaels, the producer of TV’s “Saturday Night Live,” has discovered some of the most popular comic talent over the past thirty years, from Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, to Adam Sandler and Mike Myers, to Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell. Each of these comedians has since been firmly established in the motion picture industry, and Ferrell and Kattan are working their way up. Toward that end, Corky Romano is Chris Kattan’s first solo-starring role, and his funny looks and gyrations make for a good chuckle, but the overall mindless quality of the movie isn’t a boon for his career.

When the idea for Corky came about, it was obviously intended to be a star vehicle for Kattan. With his success on “Saturday Night Live” and the “SNL”-inspired 1998 film A Night at the Roxbury, and with similar hits like Ace Ventura and Austin Powers, someone would have turned to Kattan’s skits eventually. The job fell to newcomer screenwriters David Garrett and Jason Ward, who stepped in and faced the impossible task of providing a story to hold Kattan’s antics. In the end, they came up short because they left too much in their star’s hands.

They made him Corky Romano, a loveable goof who has a spot for animals in his heart and a knack for being a klutz. He’s also separated from his Mafioso family, which is into money laundering, gambling, and other sorts of organized crime. But when the Romanos learn the FBI has evidence against Pops Romano (Peter Falk, Made), the head of the family, and they need someone to infiltrate the FBI to sabotage the case. Enter Corky in his yellow convertible and fruity 80’s music, and from there you can easily guess that the plot is going to take a turn towards the idiotic and unbelievable: Corky becomes a phony FBI agent to help his estranged father, and of course, it’s not going to be as easy as simply walking in, taking the evidence, and walking out.

Nope. Instead, we have to sit through a number of gags as Corky bumbles his way through everything. First-time director Rob Pritts and his pair of rookie screenwriters are to blame for that, and it appears as though they needed a little more adult supervision to prevent this movie from becoming as senseless as it is. It almost hurts to watch the same old jokes about flatulence and homosexuality, as well as some terribly executed slapstick humor — somebody please send a fax to Hollywood explaining that a PG-13 movie should not have jokes geared towards kindergarteners.

Kattan still manages to do well enough with his talent, though he probably could have done more to dominate the movie and make us forget there’s a story to loathe. He should have taken a lesson from Jim Carrey’s performance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective — the movie was completely foolish, but it was also a success due to Carrey’s ability to make us bust a gut while playing along with the idiocy. Perhaps that’s what the writers and director were hoping for, but Kattan could only do so much; that is, he’s good, but not good enough.

Supporting roles from Peter Falk and Richard Roundtree (the original Shaft) are pleasant surprises, although it makes you wonder what they saw in this movie that we didn’t. The story makes a turn for the serious toward the end, so maybe that’s what appealed to the veteran actors. But when a movie begins as an all-out silly romp like Corky Romano, it’s hard to take anything seriously (even if Falk’s character makes the movie’s attempt at drama easier to digest).

Nothing much can be said about Corky, though. Its mistake to use excessively immature humor is a shame, because it wastes Kattan’s effort. More importantly, it wastes our time.

Video: How does it look?

Corky Romano, for what it lacks in plot, does benefit from a very good 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. Colors are bright and solid and darned if I saw any artifacting at all. The flesh tones are very accurate, but seem to be a little over-saturated at times and the level of detail and clarity is amazing. Kudos to Disney for giving us a good-looking transfer here. While it’s not perfect, it’s pretty darn close.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack certainly won’t wake the neighbors, but you won’t have to turn the volume all the way to “11” to hear it clearly either. What’s that mean? It’s a standard 5.1 track that sounds pretty good. The surrounds are used, however infrequently, and most of the action is limited to the front three channels. As with the video, it’s above average, but nothing that will stick in your mind as having changed your life! Nice job, but nothing to write home about.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Not much in terms of extras here, we get some extended scenes (which I counted as “Deleted” scenes) that don’t amount to much and a standard EPK “All Access Pass” that is essentially a Making Of featurette. So while Corky Romano is slim on extras, that may be a good thing. Fans of this movie won’t be too impressed, but when you look at some of the DVD’s out there, this looks, sounds and has more features than a lot of them on the market. You be the judge.

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