I have never been a huge John Ritter fan.
“Three’s Company” is good for a few yucks, and Sling Blade
is decent enough, but neither made me a real John Ritter aficionado.
I am, however, a big fan of the film Real Men.
I’ve championed this movie for quite some time, which is not
an easy task. More often than
lose interest as soon as I mention the two leads (the other being James
Belushi). Though it’s
discouraging, I do understand where they’re coming from.
Like I said, I’m not a John Ritter fan, but I don’t dislike the
guy. James Belushi, on the
other hand, really annoys me. If
I see his name on a DVD cover or movie poster (When was the last time
James Belushi’s name was on a movie poster?), it’s definitely a strike
against me seeing said film. So,
like I said, Real Men is a hard sell - but doggonit, it really is a
James Belushi plays Nick Pirandello, a wise-cracking
secret agent (is there any other kind?).
Nick’s mission is to rendezvous with a group of aliens the government
was been negotiating with for many years.
In exchange for a glass of water (must be one of those “They Are
Far More Enlightened Than Us” kinda things), the aliens have agreed to
give us “The Good Package.” Sadly,
“The Good Package” has nothing to do with John Holmes.
Apparently, it’s a blueprint for peace, love, harmony and all
that other crap only people in the movies actually care about. The other option was “The Big Gun,” which I believe to be
agent, Pilbox, was originally supposed to make the rendezvous.
Unfortunately, Pilbox was gunned-down by a rival spy faction
determined to acquire “The Big Gun.”
Now they need to find a chump who looks like Pilbox to fill in (For
some unknown reason, only
Pilbox will do). They need a
guy who is quick, savvy and will sneer in the face of danger.
What they get is Bob Wilson.
John Ritter plays Bob, a straight-laced suburbanite
with a wife and family. Life
for Bob consists of a white-collar job, children who don’t respect him,
a wife that might be cheating on him, and neighborhood bullies that
belittle him. Bob has
absolutely nothing going for him, except for the fact that he looks
exactly like the recently-deceased Pilbox.
Nick and Bob: Two men with two completely different
lives. Naturally, that means
when their paths cross, wackiness must ensue.
Nick tries to recruit Bob, but Bob wants nothing to do with
espionage. But with the fate
of the world hanging in the balance, Bob really has no choice but to tag
along. Said wackiness ensues
during their cross-country trek to the rendezvous point, including (but
not limited to):
a series of wacky coincidences, Bob thinks that the aliens have turned
his index finger into an actual gun.
If you don’t find John Ritter running around pointing at
people while yelling “Bang!” is funny, then…most would probably
tend to agree with you.
Clowns. Here’s a tip to
all future filmmakers: Putting clowns in your movie is always a good
idea. Funny clowns. Sad clowns. Kung-Fu
Clowns. Scary Clowns (Oh
wait, that’s redundant, isn’t it?).
Simply put: Clowns make good cinema. Clowns are not, however, to be confused with mimes.
Never put a mime in your movie.
Unless it involves a horrible death sequence.
one point, Nick convinces Bob that he is actually a trained assassin
who, at the mere mention of a specific code word, turns into a Human
Killing Machine. Naturally,
this leads Bob to believe that he is a true bad-ass, and he then goes
out of his way to pick fights at bars, interrupt robberies, and kick
some Kung-Fu Clown ass.
Dominatrix. James Belushi
really gets his after he picks up from a bar what he thinks
to be a
Soviets, complete with Hot Emotionless Russian Chick Who Negotiates
With Sex. To the film’s
credit, the Soviets never once ask for anything resembling “zee
finally, a kooky transsexual.
Now, hold on a second.
is supposed to be a good film.
This sounds like crap! I
know, it does. On paper, Real Men sounds like cinematic cyanide.
But in reality, the film is actually quite funny.
There’s a real chemistry between Belushi and Ritter.
Chemistry is not the kind of thing one can always predict.
One might assume that putting Jack Nicholson and Christopher Walken
together would make for an interesting buddy-cop movie, but you wouldn’t
really know until it actually materializes onscreen.
Who would’ve thought that two actors like John Ritter and Jim
Belushi – not exactly huge box office draws - would click?
But click they do. As
a matter of fact, they click so well that one forgets the ineptitude that
surrounds them. This movie
should suck on several levels, but it doesn’t.
Real Men is simply a fun movie.
It’s not brilliant. It
has no scathing social commentary. No
one paid James Belushi five million dollars for a two-minute topless scene
(But you’d pay to see it, wouldn’t you?).
It’s simply a fun movie.
We’re supposed to have fun watching movies, right?
Sometimes I forget that.
Copyright 2003, J. Bannerman