Corky Romano (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This was probably the worst-reviewed film of 2001. Even the dreadful "Freddy Got Fingered" scored 11% good reviews, and scored with some of the hipper, younger, anti-establishment critics, but "Corky" got 6% good reviews. I guess you could calculate that it was about half as funny as Tom Green's movie. How funny is half of Freddy Got Fingered? Well, James Berardinelli did the math, and summed it up pretty effectively: "There are more laughs in Schindler's List".

Comedy, of course, is a subjective thing, so I'd rather focus on the complete lack of a script.

There was a general plot outline. A mob family needs one of their members to go undercover to steal some evidence from the FBI. The only choice is Corky, the mob boss's son, who was sent away when young, and is now a veterinarian's assistant whose family ties are unknown to the feds. The mob family "persuades" a hacker to fabricate a wildly inflated FBI background for Corky, and we're off on the road to wacky laughs.



Now here's how the comedy actually played out.

  • They set up a veterinarian's office and said "Ok, Chris (Kattan), do something funny." Verbal humor is not Chris's thing, so his response was to stumble around from corner to corner knocking things over and making funny faces.
  • Then they set up an FBI gym and told Chris to be funny in pretending that he knew the obscure form of martial arts on his resume. He made a funny face while a woman punched him in the nuts.
  • Then the FBI got him to translate between a Vietnamese bad guy and a Chinese bad guy, because he had mastery of those two languages listed among his false credentials. When the Vietnamese guy said something, he would repeat the exact same thing back, same with the Chinese guy, until the situation escalated to the point where funny faces were appropriate.
  • Repeat hundreds of times, as needed, ending each scene with Chris stumbling and making funny faces.

They say Kattan's face was so tired after this film that he couldn't roll his eyes or purse his lips for a month, and would actually talk to people for hours at a time without mugging.

Kattan's boss was Original Shaft (Richard Roundtree). Sometimes one of the other agents would say "boss, Romano can't be a real agent. All he can do is make funny faces". At this point Shaft would ignore the whining of the other agents, turn to give Kattan a medal of honor, and say, "nice funny face, Corky, that really helped us to flush out the 'I hate funny faces' killer. But don't be such a cowboy, going in there alone. Next time call for funny face back-up."

The humor is strictly on the grade school level, maybe lower.

Imagine you have a friend who likes to run through the entire script of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, doing a bad impersonation of Jim Carrey. Except, unlike Carrey who has a special knack for acting so stupid that he's obviously making fun of people who act stupid, your friend has no concept of how to pull it off, and just seems a little dumber than the people he's making fun of. Now imagine that your friend can't actually remember any of the funny lines in Ace Ventura, so he just does Carrey's physical schtick.

Your friend is Chris Kattan. 

Chris's IMDb credits, when sorted by ratings, give you a profile of a career with true Pauly Shore potential:

  1. (5.21) - House on Haunted Hill (1999)
  2. (5.06) - Lucky Numbers (2000)
  3. (4.95) - Monkeybone (2001)
  4. (4.92) - Corky Romano (2001)
  5. (4.83) - Night at the Roxbury, A (1998)

And the worst-rated one on the list was the one where Chris also got a writing credit. It seem reasonable to say that, so far in his career, the more involvement he has had in the projects, the worse they have been, although there is really not much numerical difference between the best and worst projects on that list.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • "all-access" shows how principal photography becomes a finished film

  • 2 extended scenes

  • widescreen anamorphic, 1.85

I did find one guy with a far worse career than Chris's. If you sort the other guy's career by ratings, this is all that appears:
  1. (3.71) - Dennis the Menace Strikes Again (1998) (V)
  2. (2.79) - Chairman of the Board (1998)

I think you probably know of whom I speak.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: one star. Ebert 0.5/4, Berardinelli 0.5/4, 2/5.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 4.8/10. Lord only knows why, but women rate it a surprisingly high 6.6.
  • with their dollars: domestic gross $23 million
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D. Even if you love lowbrow comedies and bad SNL skits, you are not likely to like this.

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