|Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006)
Starring: Larry the Cable Guy, Joe Pantoliano, Lisa Lampanelli, Tony Hale
Director: Trent Cooper
“You are very mistaken if you think that I don't know your audience. I grew up in Roswell, Georgia. I cut my teeth in the south and my first road gigs ever were in Augusta, Charleston, Baton Rouge, and Louisville. I remember them very well, specifically because of the audience. I remember thinking (occasionally, not all the time) ‘what a bunch of dumb redneck, easily entertained, ignorant motherfuckers. I can't believe the stupid shit they think is funny.’”
When I was in college in Danville, Virginia…famed as the site of the wreck of the Old ’97, as well as for being the last capital of the Confederacy…I regularly saw movies on the weekends, an activity which led to one of the single most memorable quotes from my entire collegiate experience. The name of the film I was seeing on this particular occasion has been lost to history, but it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that it was a comedy, it probably wasn’t particularly highbrow, and that, as the closing credits began to roll, I heard someone in the audience utter a line in a deep Southern drawl that was funnier than anything contained in the preceding 90+ minutes:
“Welllllll, it was alright…but it won’t no ‘Ernest Saves Christmas.’”
Nor, you may be stunned to hear, is “Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector.”
Not even fifteen seconds have passed in the film before we’ve seen the crack of the title character’s ass. If you’re already laughing, this may well be the film for you. If you aren’t, then perhaps it would help if you were to know that, in the rapid-fire process of setting up Larry’s “character” in the film, we see that he’s the sort of feller who re-uses Q-tips, pees in the shower, and maintains a constantly-replenishing supply of gas, which he gladly shares with the world, usually punctuating his flatulence with lines like, “Didja ever fart so hard that yer back cracked?” After showing what a nasty, filthy guy he is, it’s right on par with the film’s level of comedy that he’s revealed to be…a health inspector. Thing is, it’s not really what you’d call a shock, given that, y’know, it’s in the title of the movie.
Larry’s usual beat tends toward the local greasy spoons, but, after multiple complaints to his supervisors, he’s teamed up with a partner – Amy Butlin (played by Iris Bahr) – who, of course, is completely unlike him. He constantly refers to her as a “guy” because she wears her hair back and wears pants-suits. The unlikely duo end up investigating several incidents of food poisoning at local swanky restaurants, and it’s the classic fish-out-of-water scenario, with Larry being woefully out of place. Given the usual symptoms of food poisoning, it’s no surprise that there are more lowbrow jokes here than you can shake a stick at, including a scene in the bathroom of Larry’s girlfriend’s house which, in addition to being incredibly disgusting, is pretty much ripped off in its entirety from “Dumb and Dumber.”
The supporting cast doesn’t really exist for any reason other than to give Larry someone off whom to bounce his jokes, and the script isn’t funny enough for anyone to come out unscathed. Megyn Price (“Grounded for Life”) plays Larry’s girlfriend, which is almost as much of a stretch as Lisa Lampanelli playing Price’s mother. David Cross must be rolling his eyes at the fact that his fellow “Arrested Development” co-star Tony Hale (a.k.a. Buster) is in the film, as Larry’s wheelchair-bound coworker, but at least his delivery results in a few laughs. David Koechner – who turned the word “Whammy!” into instant comedy in “Anchorman” – manages to wring a bit of humor out of playing Larry’s semi-retarded neighbor, Donnie. But what’s Joe Pantoliano doing here (other than collecting an easy paycheck)…? Joey Pants can usually bring a certain degree of coolness to any project, but, here, he’s utterly gasping for air.
There’s nothing wrong with so-called “redneck comedy.” For as overplayed as his “you might a redneck if…” schtick may be, Jeff Foxworthy is a very funny man; the same goes for Bill “Here’s Your Sign” Engvall, and Ron White’s funnier than the pair of them. Hell, even Larry’s stand-up act can be funny at times. But this movie is not. You can be Southern and funny without going for the cheapest possible joke every single time, but this is just further perpetuation of the dumb-ass redneck stereotype, held together by a string of fart, poop, and puke jokes. The only sign of restraint…and the only reason the movie gets a full star rather than half a star…is that Larry saves his trademark catchphrase, “Git-R-Done,” for the very last line of the film.
Oh, well, shucks: now I’ve done gone and given away the surprise ending.
Gee, what a surprise. Only one special feature (running just over eight minutes in length) focusing on the "making" of the "movie" and how great of an entertainer Larry the Cable Guy is.