'Black Sheep' is too soft and safe for its stars

February 02, 1996|By Philip Wuntch | Philip Wuntch,DALLAS MORNING NEWS

"Black Sheep" runs for 87 minutes, blessedly brief by today's standards. But it's not nearly brief enough.

The Chris Farley-David Spade comedy is both predictable and miscalculated. One thing it's safe to expect from two wild souls with "Saturday Night Live" on their resumes is irreverence. But "Black Sheep" has a gooey marshmallow at its center -- it's about brotherly love and male friendship. It's never cheeky or irreverent; it's just mildly crude and sloppy.

The bland Spade plays Steve Dodds, lowly aide to the very proper gubernatorial candidate Al Donnelly (Tim Matheson). Dodds volunteers to look after Al's brother Mike (Farley), who unintentionally fouls up Al's best-laid plans.

Director Penelope Spheeris merely choreographs an uninspired, chaotic set piece. Farley blusters a lot. Spade manages a couple of adequate comic reactions. Matheson looks as if his mind is somewhere else. You will find yourself empathizing with Matheson.

'Black Sheep'

Starring Chris Farley and David Spade

Directed by Penelope Spheeris

Released by Paramount

Rated PG-13 (crude humor, language)

* 1/2

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