Volume 92, Issue 19

Tuesday, October 6, 1998

no funny business


Ferrell and Kattan on the Rox

Graphic by Brahm Wiseman

By Malcolm Schmitt
Gazette Writer

Is it possible to make an entertaining 90-minute comedy based on the head bobbing, "What is Love?" blasting, bump and grinding duo from Saturday Night Live skit? Despite a valiant effort by the makers of A Night At The Roxbury – the answer is no.

Starring Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan as brothers Steve and Doug Butabi respectively, this is the story of a couple of Los Angeles bar flies who have high aspirations to get into the mother of all night clubs – The Roxbury. Their dreams are realized when a chance meeting with Hollywood star Richard Grieco, stretching to play himself, leads them into The Roxbury and a meeting with the owner (Chazz Palminteri).

From here the brothers' confidence reaches an all-time high. Chaos ensues and the audience is left to pick up the pieces. Aboard for the ride are fellow SNL'ers Molly Shannon, as Steve's psychotic girlfriend and Colin Quinn as the bitter limo driver.

The sole problem with this film is it comes from a sketch which portrays a couple of one-dimensional characters. Despite the immense popularity of the Butabi brothers, memories flood the mind of other brain-children who also hit the big screen – bombs such as It's Pat and Stuart Smalley Saves the World. This latest Lorne Michaels production isn't nearly as bad as the aforementioned goofs, but it's also a far cry from quality, well-developed adaptations like Coneheads and Wayne's World.

A Night At The Roxbury does have its moments, be them few and sometimes very far between. There is some quality physical comedy provided by the duo – a trait which made them into a TV hit. It just doesn't translate to the big screen.

Any intelligible words thrown into the script for the main characters are pointless and certainly aren't funny. Behaving like complete asses and dancing like fools is what put these two on the map and the fact there is any semblance of a storyline here does not bode well.

It's obvious this film was made due to the large popularity of the original TV skit with Kattan and Ferrell, but despite its humour in depicting a specific lifestyle, the idea never had a chance of flying. All the jokes appear in the trailer and all the gas in this movie leaves the building in the first 20 minutes.

Kattan and Ferrell sure do look and dress funny, but it's not enough. The attempt to evolve the characters past their designated roles and give them real dimension falls flat, resulting in a movie as shallow as their personalities.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998