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This review was written for the theatrical release of “Delta Farce.”
NEW YORK — The way cinema studies are going, it’s admittedly possible that future film historians will study “Delta Farce” to see exactly how it fits into the oeuvre of its star, Larry the Cable Guy. They will certainly note that his screen persona has been slightly adjusted since his starring debut in “Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector”; that he more evenly shares screen time, in this case with co-stars Bill Engvall (his “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” partner) and D.J. Qualls; that in this one he actually gets the girl; etc.
As for today’s audiences, well, you can pretty much determine their potential enjoyment by whether they come from the blue or red states.
The premise of the film — which opened Friday, wisely without being screened for the press — is that three less-than-bright Army reservists, Larry, Bill and Everett (as if to emphasize the two comedians’ lack of acting cred, their characters have the same names), are suddenly summoned for a tour of duty in Iraq.
After a little basic training in which they’re browbeaten, “Officer and a Gentleman”-style, by the bullying Sgt. Kilgore (Keith David), the trio is shipped on a plane to the Middle East but through circumstances too inane to mention wind up in Mexico.
Unaware of the mishap, they set off through the desert to kill terrorists. Instead, they wind up in a small Mexican village — they’re surprised to find tacos in Iraq — where they find themselves battling a group of bandits led by — insert rim shot here — “Carlos Santana” (reliable movie baddy Danny Trejo).
Forgetting the poor taste inherent in creating an inane military comedy like this one while American soldiers are still dying overseas, “Delta Farce” isn’t funny enough to justify its existence. Neither Larry nor Engvall have strong enough comic personas to translate effectively to the big screen, and even the normally amusing Qualls is reduced to, for the most part, simply standing around and looking stupid.
There’s the usual high quotient of bodily function jokes, mispronounced words (the guys go looking for “Turds and Shitites”) and sex gags, with Mexico apparently having a very high percentage of predatory gays.
Ironically, it is the normally menacing David and Trejo who get the biggest laughs, even if the former is consistently humiliated, at various times being made to wear sheer red chiffon lingerie and warble Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You, Babe.”
The hilariously dirty insult comic Lisa Lampanelli shows up all too briefly as Engvall’s shrewish wife.
Director: C.B. Harding
Screenwriters: Bear Aderhold, Thomas F.X. Sullivan
Producers: J.P. Williams, Alan Blomquist
Executive producers: Emily Wolfe, Tom Ortenberg
Director of photography: Tom Priestley Jr.
Production designer: Cabot McMullen
Music: James S. Levine
Costume designer: Louise De Teliga
Editor: Mark Conte
Larry: Larry the Cable Guy
Bill Little: Bill Engvall
Everett Shackleford: D.J. Qualls
Carlos Santana: Danny Trejo
Marla: Marisol Nichols
Sgt. Kilgore: Keith David
General: Glenn Morshower
Running time — 89 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
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