Only accursed will see 'Scared Stupid'


October 14, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

In what amounts to more fair warning than you normally expect from Hollywood, "Ernest Scared Stupid" opens with Ernest P. Worrell in a pile of garbage. The recycled trash that follows is, therefore, no surprise.

When last encountered, in "Ernest Goes to Jail," Ernest had entered a plea of inanity and was in the slammer. Unfortunately, he's now back on the streets, free to continue his one-man dumbing of America. In demeanor and deportment, Ernest still looks like someone you might find passed out under the stadium seats in the final quarter of a pro football game. The difference in his fourth misadventure is one of degree.

In "Ernest Scared Stupid," it is explained, the Worrell family fell under an ancient curse which ordained that each succeeding generation would be more cretinous than its predecessor. This premise sets up the terrifying prospect that there is someone even more moronic than Ernest in our movie future.

"Ernest Scared Stupid" makes that seem impossible. It takes our hero into a spoof of the horror film. As the garbage man in a small Missouri town, he unwittingly -- nothing Ernest or his nTC creators do involves an ounce of wit -- sets a troll loose.

For reasons she will one day have to explain to her great-grandchildren, none other than Eartha Kitt co-stars as a witch. The singer's heart may still belong to daddy, but her brain was elsewhere when she took this cruelly demeaning role.

Although "Ernest Scared Stupid" is played for laughs (without earning any), younger children may find the slimy troll a little hard to take. Use him as your excuse to take the kids out to the lobby for popcorn. But if you go back in, don't say you weren't warned about the unimportance of seeing Ernest.

'Ernest Scared Stupid'

'Ernest Scared Stupid'

Starring Jim Varney and Eartha Kitt.

Directed by John Cherry.

Touchstone Pictures.

Rated PG.

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