The Sons of Katie Elder

The Sons of Katie Elder
"First, we reunite, then find Ma and Pa's killer...then read some reviews."

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Ridiculous 6

Haha people are so dumb. Did you read THIS story? It says that Netflix has stated that 2015's The Ridiculous 6 got the most-ever views for a movie in its first 30-days upon its release. Hahaha why would you watch that crap? Ah, so, yeah, I watched that crap. Call it morbid curiosity, but I watched it. If this doesn't prove that I'll watch just about any western, I don't know what does. And away we go!

An orphan who has lived with the Apaches most of his life, Tommy (Adam Sandler), a.k.a. White Knife, has grown into a respected warrior who's a specialist with knives. One day, a famous bandit named Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte) rides into the village claiming to be Tommy's father, and that his long-lost treasure is not too far away. Before they can go get it though, a vicious gang of killers swoops in and kidnaps Frank. Stunned at the revelation his father is alive, Tommy is in hot pursuit behind the bandits, but he's in for another surprise. Out on the trail, he keeps meeting the seeds of Frank's past. That's right, he meets five half-brothers, including Ramon (Rob Schneider), Little Pete (Taylor Lautner), Herm (Jorge Garcia), Chico (Terry Crews) and Danny (Luke Wilson). Working together, can the six brothers save their long-lost father from certain death?

To say this flick had a checkered production would be an understatement. Originally supposed to be released by Warner Bros., it was dropped. Netflix scooped it up and on things went! During production, 'Ridiculous' caused a stir when some of the Native Americans working on-set walked off, upset with the movie's portrayal of Indians. My thought there is 'Really? What did you think this was gonna be?' It all led to that point where I saw the trailer for the movie and thought "Oh, come on, that can't be good if Netflix had to showcase it rather than a theatrical run.' So what's to say of director Frank Coraci's straight-to-Netflix western? Well...

It's pretty awful. There are some laughs along the way -- genuine laughs -- but they're generally lost in a sea of recurring jokes that go nowhere, awful characters, and a story at 119 minutes that is a touch on the long side. I've mentioned my worries about comedic westerns early and often as I've written these reviews over the years, and the same issues are here. If you don't handle it right, it's just goofy to downright dumb. Coraci (a frequent Sandler director), Sandler and co-writer Tim Herlihy clearly know the western genre. They pick and choose some stereotypes here and some cliches there and mix it all together into one jumbled-up mess. Some of the end results pay off with laughs while others flop.

Two things ultimately got me through this flick. Okay, maybe 3. 1. I wanted to write a review. Look at all those movie stars! 2. I love westerns. 3. Okay, it was just 2. Adam Sandler's movies aren't meant to be classics. They're supposed to be fun. So what I did like here was the often very stupid dynamic among the actual Ridiculous 6. White Knife is the stoic anti-hero, Schneider's Ramon, the Mexican bandit, Little Pete, the mentally challenged idiot (a truly painful performance to watch), Garcia's Herm, the mute, mammoth mountain man, Crews' Chico the saloon piano player, Wilson's Danny the gunfighter looking for redemption. The group even...sings (so there's that) about finding their Dad. There are some good gags here, including Chico "revealing" to his brothers that he's actually black (gasp!). Same for a scene where they discuss their ridiculous skills and talents, The payoff is worth it.

Who else to watch out for? I liked Will Forte as the leader of the Left-Eye gang, bandits who have shown the commitment to the gang by tearing out their right eyes, including Clem (Steve Zahn), already down to one eye when he joins the gang. I won't give away all the surprises -- you can do that by looking at the full cast listing -- but it was cool to see guys like Harvey Keitel (a gunslinging saloon owner), Danny Trejo (bandit leader), Steve Buscemi (barber/doctor in a truly disgusting scene), and John Turturro (Abner Doubleday introducing baseball to Indians) pop up here and there. Plenty more familiar faces pop up here and there so keep your eyes peeled throughout for some good, some bad and some just plain dumb.

What's unfortunate I thought was that there actually was a fair share of potential for a western spoof/satire here. I did laugh here and there throughout. Unfortunately, most of that potential gets swept away in a sea of donkey diarrhea scenes (twice), one scene of bathroom humor after another, jokes about third nipples, odd special effects overdone sight gags and generally that feel that a 13-year old giggled his way through writing the screenplay. I'm not giving it a positive rating, but it isn't so awful that it's not worth a watch, at least to experience the mostly badness mixed with the at-times goodness.

Now what about a sequel...

The Ridiculous 6 (2015): * 1/2 /****

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