Look at the title. Do you still need more information? It's a Lampoon project. Rarely have National Lampoon products
required any review.
In the 1970s and 80s they represented edgy, hip, anti-establishment
humor, and you could be pretty sure that anything attached to the
National Lampoon brand was funny. The
magazine was funny and groundbreaking and smart. The live shows and
record albums were outrageously anti-establishment. The movies were
not as edgy as the other material, but were comedy hits (Animal House, Vacation), starred the hottest comic stars of
the time like Belushi, and are still watched today. Back then, if the title included the words
National Lampoon, you could be pretty sure that the product was on the
cutting edge of comedy, and that knew that you were not getting ripped
off when you plunked down your greenbacks.
No review necessary.
Boy, was that a long time ago! Now the brand means just about the
exact opposite. You can be sure that it will be straight-to-video
stuff as low in quality as it is in brow. Sometimes the Lampoonistas produce from scratch. Sometimes they just lend their name
to material which has already been created.
But still no review necessary.
Here's a quick overview of their four highest-rated products at IMDB
and the four lowest-rated. Note the dates.
I'm not sure what happened to them when the New Year's ball fell,
ushering in the 1990s, but it wasn't good. Since that time, Van Wilder has
been their only worthwhile product, and even that was a notch below
their best early efforts.
Cattle Call probably isn't going to end up with a score as low as
the four bottom ones in the chart above, but it is not significantly
above that level. Three guys pretend to make a movie so they meet girls. It's
like video dating, except fraudulent to the point of illegality.
This film is embarrassing, more sad than funny, and the saddest and
most embarrassing part about the experience is that the legendary
Jonathan Winters agreed to appear in it. At 80 years old he still
showed the same nutty energy and was good, as always, although he
seemed to be in a different movie. Of course that just about sums up
his career, doesn't it?
Funny thing about Jon. Although I am quite old, nearly 60, I can't
remember a time when Winters was hot. Even when I first became aware
of him, he was talked about as a guy who used to be bigger. "Gee,
remember when he used to be on Jack Parr and Omnibus?", older people
would ask me with a smile of fond recollection for hilarious things
which transpired before my time.
Yes, Jon was Jack Paar's favorite guest, or so I have read, but Paar's
stint on Tonight happened before I really became aware of the show,
and in my day, Winters could never really break through. Johnny Carson
and others would speak of him in the reverential tones reserved for
saints, as one might speak today of Nelson Mandela, and everyone in the
biz loved and respected Winters. But when he'd get his own TV show, as
he would from time to time, it seemed to be cancelled after about ten
minutes, and I never even caught a single minute of any of them. I
know that Robin Williams idolized Jon and basically stole his act, but
Robin used that act to became a major star in movies, TV, and
stand-up, while Winters always remained a bit player that people in
the biz seemed to love far more than audiences did.
So it goes.
I wish all those people who love him so much would offer him better
jobs than Cattle Call, because I hate thinking that he needs a
paycheck so desperately that he would work in something like this.
Seeing him in this is like seeing Nelson Mandela wearing a paper hat
and working behind the counter at Arby's.