They dream of bopping their way into hot L.A. club

October 02, 1998|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Hard to believe anyone could make a movie around two guys bopping their heads to a big beat.

But that's exactly what "A Night at the Roxbury" boils down to, as Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell transfer their hopelessly vapid Butabi brothers from "Saturday Night Live" to the big screen. And, in the biggest surprise of all, the movie is a lot better than it has any right to be.

Kattan and Ferrell are Doug and Steve Butabi, whose collective dream in life is simple: They want to dance the night away, preferably at L.A.'s hottest club, the Roxbury. Their heads constantly bopping back and forth to the infectious beat of Haddaway's "What Is Love," the boys probably have a combined IQ of 10, but since when did that stop anyone from getting into a nightclub?

In pursuit of their version of the grail, the Butabis run into all sorts of obstacles, including a pair of vixens who mistake them for guys who matter, a father (Dan Hedaya) who wants them to help run his fake-flower store, an obsessive-compulsive neighbor (a wickedly spirited Molly Shannon, also of "SNL") who wants to make an honest man of Steve, even an honest-to-goodness celebrity (Richard Grieco, who must still be a celebrity in somebody's mind).

Credit whoever it was -- screenwriter Steve Koren, director John Fortenberry, producers Lorne Michaels and Amy Hecker- ling, perhaps Kattan and Ferrell themselves -- who decided to tone down the crude and offensive in favor of the dumb but genial. Me, I see a lot of Heckerling in that decision; her "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" remains one of the most good-hearted (not to mention funniest) comedies of the past 20 years.

"A Night at the Roxbury" doesn't belong in that league. But if you want a perfect example of "dumb fun," you need look no further.

'A Night at the Roxbury'

Starring Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan

Directed by John Fortenberry

Released by Paramount

Rated PG-13 (sex-related humor, language, some drug content)

Running time 83 minutes

Sun score ** 1/2

Pub Date: 10/02/98

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