NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, APG-13
The makers of 'Saturday Night Live' have decided, for the eighth time (and there's a ninth on the way), to turn one of their skits into a movie. 'SNL' is a show that goes through cycles of high and low inspiration, and for the last few years, it's been low. It's so low that one of its most popular and most repeated skits has been a thin one-joke bit, involving two overly hairsprayed losers looking to score on the nightclub scene, two guys whose most pronounced form of expression is to bop their heads from side to side and flick their hands over their noses. And that, right there, is the joke. What separates this crumb of comedy from the abundance of 'SNL' chaff is that Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell, who play these two losers, are talented enough physical comics to make these gyrations funny for a couple minutes at a time. But after several handfuls of variations on the show (varied primarily by the presence of whoever the host happens to be on any given week), the gyrations have begun to get tired. So, naturally, Lorne Michaels, the longtime producer of the show, thought it was high time to make it a feature-length movie.
For the film, called A Night at the Roxbury, the big variation, the whopper of a variation, is that they now speak. And guess what? They're dumb. How dumb are they? They're so dumb, their idea of a funny joke is to answer no, when what they really mean is, yes. They're the Butabi brothers, Steve (Ferrell) and Doug (Kattan), and as distinguished by their father (Dan Hedaya, given nothing to do but scream in exasperation), 'one has his head in the clouds, the other has his head up his ass.' But since they really wear the same uniform of stupidity, such distinctions don't much matter. It's more accurate to think of them as the short one and the tall one. They live with their mom (Loni Anderson) and dad in their luxurious upper-class estate, and they work in dad's fake-plant store. The only thing that holds their interest is clubbing, and someday opening their own club. The problem is that they're natural born dorks, which prevents them from getting into the hottest club in town, the Roxbury.
Well, they do eventually get in, through a ridiculous, unfunny set of circumstances (hohoho, it's Richard Grieco as himself, trying to avoid being sued after he hits the dynamic duo's van). This is yet another comedy focused on a pair of male idiots, in the grand tradition of Wayne's World and Bill & Ted and Dumb & Dumber, all of which are smarter than this. Ferrell and Kattan are actually two of the more talented, livelier members of the 'SNL' troupe, but they're no Myers and Carvey. Kattan is a slightly more talented physical comedian than verbal (he's found no voice for this character), and Ferrell, the more well-rounded comic, gets to say 'what's up' a lot (that's his pick-up line). The script Ferrell and Kattan have written (along with 'SNL' skit writer Steve Koren) provides neither with much to do. All that's here are lazy, stupid gags, and for me, one worked. While being seduced by a couple of trampy golddiggers, Doug and Steve don't know what to do beyond first base, and so they keep on blurting out every cheesy pick-up line they know. The rest of the film is on autopilot, with comic material that's spread thinner than the lone brain cell the Butabis share.