A failed try to infiltrate adult comedy

Movie review

October 12, 2001|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Corky Romano is released by Touchstone, Disney's ostensibly more adult subdivision. But it may make you feel the way you did at dreadful live-action Disney matinees from decades past - trapped in a world of suffocating families and wholesome comic-action figures - even though here they're given a leering twist.

Chris Kattan stars as Corky, the black sheep of a crime clan: a gentle, goodhearted fellow who works as a veterinarian's assistant. He temporarily abandons his dream of having an animal hospital of his own when he infiltrates the FBI to destroy grand-jury evidence condemning his tough-tender father (Peter Falk).

Inside the FBI, Corky tries to live up to a doctored resume that includes every police skill imaginable and a Harvard education. His supervisor, Richard Round- tree, reads Corky's panicky missteps as signs of maverick genius; his curvy colleague, Vinessa Shaw, grows to love him as an offbeat Fed with a nurturing side.

Kattan proves each week on Saturday Night Live that he's an all-out farceur, turning polymorphous-perverse sweetness into a riotous comic trademark. And he showed he could carve out his own big-screen space in Monkeybone, as a busted corpse abruptly equipped with a new brain and soul.

In Corky Romano, he must carry the whole show without help. All he does is let things rip through a series of juvenile slips and splats, whether he's pulling a huge snake through his zipper or ejaculating bullets at a showdown for the FBI. At least, viewers are never quite sure how Kattan will look from scene to scene or what he will do next - something that can't be said about his two film brothers: Chris Penn as a butt-ogling gay thug, and Peter Berg as a spluttering reading-impaired thug.

Most pratfalls involve slapstick double-entendres, and the mixed naughtiness and goofiness can't cover for a fatal lack of timing or overall pace.

Although the movie plays at a primary-grade level, its content contains ingredients that young kids will never get; the biggest laugh comes when Corky and a police dog inadvertently get wired on cocaine. The only way sober adults will keep awake is wondering how the lead mobsters on The Sopranos - who also are amateur film critics - will rank the movie next year on HBO.

Corky Romano

Starring Chris Kattan, Peter Falk, Peter Berg, Chris Penn

Directed by Rob Pritts

Rated PG-13

Released by Touchstone

Running time 86 minutes

Sun score *

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