Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: "Delta Farce" Tries (Happy B'day, Danny Trejo)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 134 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Delta Farce (2007)
Running time:  89 minutes (1 hour, 29 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for crude and sexual humor
WRITERS:  Bear Aderhold and Thomas F.X. Sullivan
PRODUCERS:  Alan Blomquist and J.P. Williams
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Tom Priestley, Jr.
EDITOR:  Mark Conte
COMPOSER:  James S. Levin


Starring:  Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall, DJ Qualls, Keith David, Marisol Nichols, Glenn Morshower, Michael Papajohn, and Danny Trejo

The subject of this movie review is Delta Farce, a 2007 action-comedy starring comedians, Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall.  The film follows three bumbling Army reservists who are bound for Iraq, but instead are accidentally dropped near a Mexican village besieged by bandits.

After being mistaken for Army reserve troops, Larry (Larry the Cable Guy), Bill (Bill Engvall), and Everett (DJ Qualls), three small-town losers who are also National Guardsmen, find themselves introduced to angry Sgt. Kilgore (Keith David).  After berating them for their slovenliness, Kilgore eventually hustles the trio onto a transport plane bound for Iraq.

During the flight, the pilots unwittingly drop Larry, Bill, Everett, and Kilgore in Mexico.  After burying Kilgore whom they believe was killed by the drop, Larry, Bill, and Everett begin liberating what they think are Iraqi civilians.  When they discover that they are in Mexico, the trio finds itself saving the small Mexican village of La Miranda from a gang of bandits led by the man who calls himself the “real Carlos Santana” (Danny Trejo).

How do you take two funny comedians and turn them into listless joke machines delivering dry one-liners?  You try to make them actors, which is what the film Delta Farce does.  Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall are best known as part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, although Larry the Cable Guy, as a solo act, is currently the most successful touring comedian in terms of tickets sold.  They’re funny guys, and Larry is especially talented.  But turn them into actors, and their comedy becomes strained.

The film Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector played to Larry’s strengths by fashioning a flimsy movie scenario and basically letting him perform his stage act with the rest of the movie’s cast playing off him.  His voiceover performance in Disney/Pixar’s Cars was basically Larry being Larry.

In Delta Farce, Larry and Bill not only have to play characters; they also have to move the narrative.  That requires a performer to do more acting than just pretending.  It’s more than telling jokes, performing skits and routines, and saying silly things.  Larry and Engvall are good at delivering one-liners and saying a few funny things, but this comic duo often seems out of place in the context of film narrative.  Ultimately, they’re not bad, and what they do in Delta Farce should appease their fan base.

On the other hand, DJ Qualls, a pretty good comic actor, and Keith David, a fine and under-utilized character actor, fit comfortably.  Qualls and David actually play comic characters and when they perform, it’s like acting and not a stand-up comedy routine.

Delta Farce is harmless and is for the most part funny.  It actually could have been much better, but the directing by C.B. Harding, who helmed Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie and the TV follow ups, is abysmal.  The film is largely apolitical, though odd “support the troops” comments pop up here and there.  As is, Delta Farce is decent entertainment for fans of the various cast members, especially Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall.

4 of 10

Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

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