Published on June 1st, 2008 | by simeon0
For many people, family members are ties that run strong, and despite differences that may arise amongst members, people hold a special place for those in their family, and accept their quirks and annoying behaviors, even if for some this acceptance is given only in small doses.
Ah, but what is one to do with the proverbial Black Sheep of the family? Most of us have someone in our family that is a bit different than the norm, and while they can be an embarrassment at times, they are still family, and as such many of their quirks are forgiven even if they are joked about amongst relatives.
However, what is one to do when you are a member of a powerful crime family and your Black Sheep is so against the family norm, that his very presence is a source of embarrassment to you and all of your dealings? Well, if you are the head of the family, you send your problem away and keep him from the family circle.
Such is the case for Corky Romano (Chris Kattan), a good natured assistant Veterinarian, who dreams of one day having his own practice as he tools around his Florida town, in his yellow sports car with its “free hugs” bumper sticker as he animatedly sings along to 80’s music.
Corky is an easygoing guy with a fondness for making people happy and bright colors. He is as quick with a nice word or good deed, as he is with his smile that he displays at the drop of a hat. All seems well in Corky’s world until he gets a call from his family.
It seems that the Federal Government is about to put Corky’s father Pops (Peter Falk), away, and since his brothers, (Chris Penn, and Peter Berg), as well as everyone the family is associated with are under surveillance, and have a dossier on them, Corky is the only one who can infiltrate the FBI and retrieve the evidence against his father.
Despite his brother’s reservations, they force a hacker to create a FBI profile for Corky and send him into the FBI to save their father. Naturally the good natured and quirky Corky is not happy with the task given him, and only goes along with it, as he wants to get in good with his ailing father and does not want to see him spend his final years in jail.
Things take an unexpected turn, when Corky is put on a special task force in charge of stopping a serial killer. It seems that the hacker who created his profile wanted to make sure he did not draw the wrath of Cork’s family and created a profile for Corky as a Harvard educated super agent. This gets him on good standing with his boss (Richard Roundtree), but does the head of the task force (Matthew Glave) shun him.
All is not lost for Corky, as he meets the shapely agent Russo (Vinessa Shaw), and sets out to melt her icy, professional exterior and become a friend to her. It seems Russo is always being handled differently from her co-workers as she is a woman, and she longs to be treated as the other members of the agency are. In Corky, she finds a person who is different from the agency type and very modest about himself and his accomplishments.
Despite having no formal training, Corky manages to be of great use to the FBI, as he is able to resolve situations he is presented with in the line of duty ranging from crime scene investigations, to hostage situations, through his easygoing charm and blind luck. As his star rises in the agency, so do the laughs.
Rob Pritts who is making his feature debut directed the film, and in some ways the direction is what hurts the film the most. Kattan rose to stardom through Saturday Night Live, and despite roles in “A Night at the Roxbury” and the forgettable “Monkey Bone”, and as many a Saturday Night Live performer has found, the transition from sketch based comedy to feature length films difficult. While segments of “Corky” do have some funny moments, most of the film suffers from an erratic pacing and jokes that are poorly setup and executed. One such scene is an undercover operation where Corky is supposed to translate two different languages to English amongst rival factions. What should be a very funny scene quickly becomes mimicking dialogue and a very badly staged free for all.
Worse yet, none of the characters are fully developed, as they are all charactures of previous, and in many cases, better crime films. The family just stands around or in Falk’s case, lays around waiting for Corky to appear so they can administer the slapstick head slaps, and send him on his way again to the next comedy sequence. The film seems much like Corky, lost and stumbling about, unsure what it is to do next. The transition between many scenes lacks any real flow and it seems a like Saturday Night Live sketch. Scenes are setup as a comic segments with loose transitions that serve only to move the characters to the next comedic setup without using the time for character development or setting up the comedic segments.
Kattan is a funny performer but it seems that the camera was tuned on him and he was told to be funny. The fish out of water jokes ran thin thirty minutes into the film and Kattan strains himself to be funny, but the material and direction cause him to fail far more than he succeeds. What was a good idea, quickly fades and becomes just another forgettable comedy from a Saturday Night alum. Here is hoping that Kattan can get matched with a script that is worthy of his talents.
2.5 stars out of 5